Kells Monastic Site


Map Reference: N740759 (2740, 2759)

The monastery at Kells was probably founded in the 6th century by St Columba. It was refounded in the early 9th century by monks fleeing from Iona after the Viking raids. However Kells itself was plundered at that time and its church destroyed. A new church was built in 814. In the 12th century the Augustinians established a priory here.



The remains of the early monastery include five High Crosses (complete or fragmentary), a Round Tower and an early stone church. The E cross is unfinished. It has a Crucifixion and a panel of four figures.



Elsewhere the cross has been outlined with rectangular panels ready to receive their figure carving. The N cross is represented by a conical base with interlaced ornament. The W cross has a base and part of a decorated shaft. The subjects include the Baptism of Christ and the Fall of Man.



Nearby is the S cross or Cross of Patrick and Colmcille. It is richly decorated and the subjects include Daniel in the Lions' Den and the Three Hebrew Children in the Fiery Furnace. Close to this cross is a very fine Round Tower. It is about 27m high with a plinth up to 1m high.



The round-headed doorway has inclined jambs and there is a faint carved head on the E jamb. Just outside the graveyard, on the N side, is a small rectangular building called St Columb's House. The original doorway was in the W and there is a chamber within the high-pitched roof. It is thought to have been built in 814.











For details of other Round Towers click on the links below

Antrim, Co Antrim Armoy, Co Antrim St Mullin’s, Co Carlow Drumlane, Co Cavan Drumcliff, Co Clare Dysert O’Dea, Co Clare Cloyne, Co Cork Kinneigh, Co Cork Tory Island, Co Donegal Drumbo, Co Down Maghera, Co Down Nendrum, Co Down Lusk, Co Dublin Swords, Co Dublin Devenish, Co Fermanagh Kilbennan, Co Galway Kilmacduagh, Co Galway Roscam, Co Galway Aghadoe, Co Kerry Ratoo, Co Kerry Castledermott, Co Kildare Kildare, Co Kildare Kilcullen, Co Kildare Oughterard, Co Kildare Taghadoe, Co Kildare Aghaviller, Co Kilkenny Grangefertagh, Co Kilkenny Kilkenny, Co Kilkenny Kilree, Co Kilkenny Tullaherin, Co Kilkenny Timahoe, Co Laois Kilmallock, Co Limerick Dromiskin, Co Louth Monasterboice, Co Louth Aghagower, Co Mayo Balla, Co Mayo Killala, Co Mayo Meelick, Co Mayo Turlough, Co Mayo Donaghmore, Co Meath Clones, Co Monaghan Clonmacnois, Co Offaly Boyle, Co Roscommon Oran, Co Roscommon Drumcliffe, Co Sligo Cashel, Co Tipperary Roscrea, Co Tipperary Ardmore, Co Waterford Glendalough, Co Wicklow

For details of other Figured High Crosses click on the links below

Dysert O’Dea, Co Clare Kilfenora, Co Clare Killaloe, Co Clare Camus, Co Derry Carndonagh, Co Donegal Donaghmore, Co Down Boho, Co Fermanagh Galloon, Co Fermanagh Tuam, Co Galway Castledermott, Co Kildare Moone, Co Kildare Kilkeeran, Co Kilkenny Killamery, Co Kilkenny Kilree, Co Kilkenny Monasterboice, Co Louth Termonfeckin, Co Louth Duleek, Co Meath Kells Market Cross, Co Meath Killary, Co Meath Clones, Co Monaghan Clonmacnois, Co Offaly Durrow, Co Offaly Drumcliffe, Co Sligo Ahenny, Co Tipperary Arboe, Co Tyrone Donaghmore, Co Tyrone



Return to County Meath List
Return to Gazetteer