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Mystery Celtic Cross in Killarney, Co. Kerry

I was in Killarney, Co. Kerry at the weekend and on our way out to The Blue Pool Gallery in Muckross I spotted a large Celtic cross in a field off the main road.

Now I’ve traveled this road on numerous occasions and never before have I spotted this.
As a child my parents would bring us down to Muckross house and gardens so I thought I was very familiar with this road! I don’t know what made me look up on the hill last Sunday morning but I couldn’t believe considering the size of the cross I had never seen it before.

We stopped the car and took a few photos of the mystery cross.

Celtic Cross in Killarney County Kerry Ireland

The photos aren’t very clear as they were taken with my phone on a rainy morning but you get the idea, it’s big and pretty hard to miss!

Of course having made the discovery I had to know more, so we drove up every side road we could find in a effort to get closer to the cross, unfortunately we were unsuccessful so the rest of my investigative work had to be done online.

So here’s what I discovered. The cross marks the spot of Killegy graveyard and is called the Herbert Memorial Cross. Named after the Herbert family that owned Muckross house and gardens. Incidentally the land owned by the Herbert family became Killarney National Park, the first National Park in Ireland. Both Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife Mary Balfour Herbert are buried in Killegy graveyard. Had I been able to find my way to the cross here’s what I would have discovered.

Killegy Graveyard Kerry Ireland

Killegy Graveyard Kerry Ireland

And here’s a better image of the cross so you see the amazing stone carving. I haven’t been able to find out when the cross was erected or where it was carved so if you have any other information be sure to contact me at eileen@claddaghdesign.com I’d love to know more.

Herbert Memorial Cross

2 Responses to Mystery Celtic Cross in Killarney, Co. Kerry

  1. JSullivan April 25, 2017 at 9:18 pm #

    The full inscription reads:
    In affection and memory of the right honorable Henry Arthur Herbert, Born 1815 Died 1866. His tenantry have erected this cross to record their sense of his virtue and their grief for his loss”

    Great to see this article, the burial ground is much neglected in modern times. To stop there you would not think that a family buried there formed the current national park. The burial ground is much neglected by the Office Of Public Works and in some way the Church Of Ireland RCB

    Thanks for the comments from an ‘outsider’? ! 🙂

    • Claddagh Design April 26, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

      Thanks for your comments, it’s lovely to hear more about the cross. It’s such a pity it has not been cleaned up and maintained. Every time I drive this road now I look up at the cross and laugh at how I ever missed it!

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