The Cross of Cong

21 Sep

While walking around the National Museum of Ireland, I encountered many objects that exemplified the culture of the Irish people from all ages. However, one specific artifact seemed to radiate more culture than the others surrounding it; this artifact was the Cross of Cong. Me being Catholic myself, I was naturally drawn toward its beauty and implied representation of Christianity. After looking at it in the museum, I decided to research the artifact online to see what more it had to represent.

The Cross of Cong is very detailed in appearance, looking as if it is made of a dense bronze; however, after further research, I realized that it is actually made out of layers of brass and cast brass, drizzled in gems made of silver, gold, and colored glass. Created in an Irish-Romanesque style with Viking influence, this artifact is a memento of the early influence of Roman Catholicism in the region once dominated by the expansive Vikings of Scandinavia. Further evidence of a multicultural radiance in this artifact can be found in its subtle engravings; most are written in the Irish language. However, one line reading “Hac cruce crux tegitur qua passus conditor orbis” (In this cross is preserved the cross on which the Founder of the world suffered) is written in Latin. This one line hails back to the Roman influence in Ireland, with St. Patrick first introducing the Holy Trinity to the Celts living there.

Knowing the importance of Christianity in Ireland, I knew this ornate cross represented the Irish culture in a very broad sense. Representing the Celts with their language, the Romans with their religion, and the Vikings with their style of craftsmanship, the Cross of Cong is truly a unique cross that deserved further research to release its deeper beauty after examining its superficial beauty in the National Museum of Ireland.

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