One of the best-know symbols of early Christianity in Ireland is the Celtic cross. These sculpted stone monuments, some as high as 20 feet, feature a circle connecting the arms. Many feature ornate carvings, such as the 16th century cross at Monasterboice. The Celtic cross’s popularity as a symbol of Irish faith has flourished, taking shape in jewelry, Belleek china, and most any form.
The Celtic Knot
The ancient monks illuminating the Book of Kells in old Ireland used Celtic knot work to symbolize eternal life. The interlaced, unbroken lines wove a story of humanity’s spiritual growth and connectedness.
Ancient symbols such as the spiral, often drawn with no beginning or end, have come to represent the eternal commit- ment of marriage. The spiral, circle and wheel are all powerful symbols representing the cycle of life, death and rebirth, including the seasons of the year.
When St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century, he is said to have used the shamrock to teach the Irish people about the Blessed Trinity. It has become one of Ireland’s most beloved emblems, worn by many on St. Patrick’s Day.