This is the first detailed study of the Cross of Cong, one of Ireland’s great national treasures. Made to enshrine a relic of Christ’s Cross in the early twelfth century under the patronage of the high king Turlough O’Connor, it was one of the most important reliquaries in medieval Ireland. This book explores the political, religious, cultural and artistic background to its creation, arguing that its production was motivated as much by politics, both secular and ecclesiastical, as it was by religious devotion.
In a unique exploration, Griffin Murray also examines the modern history of the Cross from the seventeenth century to today, describing its important position in the history of Irish national collections and its impact on the Gaelic Revival. With surprising and noteworthy revelations on the hidden secrets of recent x-ray examinations and new research on the origins of the Cross, this book is an indispensable study of this national treasure.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – Rediscovery, Acquisition, and Study: From Country Cottage to Cultural Icon
Chapter 2 – Turlough O’Connor, Tuam and the True Cross
Chapter 3 – Description and Analysis
Chapter 4 – Making the Cross: The Master-Craftsman and his Techniques
Chapter 5 – Tradition and Influence: The Style of the Cross of Cong
Chapter 6 – The Meaning of the Cross of Cong
Chapter 7 – The Significance of the Cross of Cong: Identity, Workshops, and Relics
Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Objects Produced by the Cross of Cong Workshop
Appendix 1 – XRF analysis of the central plate of the Cross of Cong ~ Paul Mullarkey
Appendix 2 –Remedial conservation work on the Cross of Cong ~ Paul Mullarkey
About the Author
Griffin Murray is an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology, University College, Cork. He is honorary editor of the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, a Member of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.