This past Friday, I shared with you a photo of the majestic Celtic cross and tower of Monasterboice in Ireland.
Located among the rolling hills of county Louth, this monastic site is just north of Drogheda. Both a scenic and historical area, Monasterboice is a popular spot for educators and their students to stop off at before continuing to Newgrange. The many vantage points offer stunning views of the Irish landscape. From the natural undisturbed pastures to the coastal and mountain views, the drive will allow you and your students to soak in the beauty of the country you are visiting on your educational tour. Dating back to the 6th century, this monastic site was founded by St. Buite who is said to have worked many cures and crossed paths with St. Patrick. Following his death in 521, the monks continued working under his teachings, and in the 9th and 10th centuries Monasterboice flourished into an important and renowned center of learning. Sadly, the monastery was plundered soon afterwards and it’s numerous books and treasures were burned leaving behind little factual record.
Only the wonderful crosses and grand tower remain as evidence of the former glory of Monasterboice. The elaborately carved Muireadach’s Cross is most likely the first of its kind in all of Ireland. The various carvings depict well known scenes from the Old and New Testaments. The nearby West Cross, standing in the shadow of the round tower, shows similar scenes. Another cross to admire is the North Cross, though it’s not as decorated. While exploring the grounds be sure to seek out the ancient sun-dial, 9th and 13th century churches, and the various grave slabs inscribed with Gaelic sayings and scriptures.
Not only is Monasterboice a wonderful place full of educational tidbits, but it’s a place where the participants on the educational tour can take some time to reflect on the trip and how they are becoming global citizens.
So when planning your next educational tour to Ireland be sure to include this exciting historical site. I promise it will not disappoint!
Until next time,