St Columba

County Meath

The Protestant church of St Columba has a 30m-high 10th-century round tower on the southern side (today without its conical roof). In 1076 the high king of Tara was murdered in its confined apartments.

In the churchyard are four 9th-century high crosses in various states of repair.

The West Cross, at the far end, is the stump of a decorated shaft, which has scenes of the baptism of Jesus, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the Judgement of Solomon on the eastern face, and Noah's ark on the western face.

All that's left of the North Cross is the bowl-shaped base stone.

Near the round tower is the best preserved of the crosses, the Cross of Patrick & Columba, with its semi-legible inscription, 'Patrici et Columbae Crux', on the eastern face of the base.

The other surviving cross is the unfinished East Cross, with a carving of the Crucifixion and a group of four figures on the right arm.

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