Coughlanstown Cross


I went looking for this little cross a while ago and had passed it twice before finally finding it. Tucked away on the side of a small country road just outside Ballymore Eustace in Co. Kildare. Its about half a mile away from the old Coughlanstown churchyard, but as usual I had run out of time and needed to be heading home, with just enough time to grab a few shots of this interesting little cross. It is actually enclosed with wooden fencing which made getting shots quite difficult, but I presume the fencing was erected to protect the cross from traffic.


There is not a whole lot known about the cross, which is quite basic in design. Carved from granite at a height of 1.33 meters, the shaft measures .36 meters with the arms at .73 meters. It honestly looks like an early Christian cross. But who knows. The National Monuments Service website claims that it may have possibly been erected on a cross base in the nearby graveyard. But then how the hell did it end up half a mile down the road? One local tradition gives an alternative explanation for its current location. The story goes, that the cross was being transported from Tipperkevin to Coughlanstown when the cart on which it was being transported broke and the cross fell off. Apparently the cross was too heavy to lift, so it remained in its current location on the side of the road. Either way it is a rather unusual little find. I would love to know more about it or how old it is. If anyone can help, I would love to hear from you.


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About edmooneyphotography

Photographer, Blogger, Ruinhunter, with an unhealthy obsession for history, mythology and the arcane.
This entry was posted in Diary of a Ruinhunter, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Coughlanstown Cross

  1. John says:

    I wonder if there is a grave under it…


  2. Helen C says:

    Ed, I would like to know your process a little more. Do you usually read about the area first, and then go look for things? Thanks in advance! 😉


    • Hi Helen,
      Normally I will research a site before visiting. The National Monuments website is a good starting point if it is pre 1700. Then the library, scouring through old books or sometimes you might find interesting stuff on the Google machine, although I always like to confirm anything I find online, just to be safe.
      My favorite way to get info on a site is to speak with locals, they have a vast knowledge that you just cant get anywhere else. It does not always happen that way but when it does you end up with some rather interesting stories.
      Once in a while I will come across a site that I know nothing about, so I shoot it and research later, I always mark these on my GPS so I can find the town land in which it was, this makes identifying it later much simpler.
      Hope this answers your question? 🙂


  3. Sue Vincent says:

    Very unusual design whateever the period.


  4. Ali Isaac says:

    What a quirky little find! How intriguing!


  5. hfryan says:

    Ed, you continually open our eyes to the wonders of our past. I’m nagging, but there should be a book—–or even a series of postcards.


  6. It looks good, however it got there! Interesting that even if it did fall off a cart, someone decided to erect it. It looks very crudely shaped. Are there masonry marks or chisel marks visible? Could it possibly be a stone that is simply this shape? Whatever it is, I love it!


  7. LB says:

    Can’t help with the mystery, but I do love the local legend of it.


  8. Jo Woolf says:

    A really lovely little find, Ed! I like the folk tale that goes with it. It seems that stones and crosses had a very strong power over horses and carts (and the people who drove them!)


  9. I like its simplicity. And it’s chubby. I like that, too.


  10. As always, your photos are great and the commentary interesting. You are the King Of Irish Photography! 🙂


  11. there’s something very friendly and welcoming, especially in the third photo.


  12. HI Ed – nice article on this cross – I have been researching my own familky roots in Ballymore Eustace – Elverstown in fact . I passed the cross recently on my way to coughlanstown church – graveyard to investigate a piece of info about my families lost burial plot – would you believe I discovered the plot and a headstone dating back to the 18oo’s with a very clear inscription relating to my great great great grandparents and their daughter. The history of this area goes way back and the Eustace family seemed to have been very prominent . Indeed there is a small baptismal font in the old church dating to the 1400’s and mentioning Eustace Portlester. My family grave is just outside this near the outside wall. interested in any further info myself Rgds John R


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