We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.


(53°11′53″N, 6°8′42″W)
O 24 18
pre-1974 traditional (Republic of Ireland) Wicklow
now Wicklow
  • Roger Stalley

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=15211.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.

Feature Sets

A granite cross set in a circular base, located on the E side of Fassaroe Lane.


Antiquarian sources state that the cross was brought to its present site in the early 19thc from nearby Ballyman Glen. However, there is some archaeological evidence that a church once existed in an adjoining field, so the cross may in fact be near to its original position.


Exterior Features



The distinctive shape of the Fassaroe cross, with its circular or disc-shaped head, has been related by O 'hEailidhe to a group of crosses in Cornwall. The 'keyhole' form of the sunken panel containing the Crucifixion has particularly close analogies amongst the Cornish examples.

It is important to remember, however, that there was a large group of early Irish ringed crosses with unpierced heads, some of which were Romanesque in date (Killaloe, Kilfenora). The critical feature of the Fassaroe cross is that the arms do not project beyond the circumference of the circle. This disc-shaped form is found in many early crosses in S Wales (Margam, Llantwit Major) and there are also examples in Ireland; a particularly good instance is that at Killaghtee Old Church, near Dunkineely (Donegal), where the circular head is carved with a Maltese cross (Archaeological Survey of County Donegal, 1520).

The heads projecting in the round can be compared with that on the granite cross at Ballymore Eustace (Kildare). As O 'hEailidhe has pointed out, the Fassaroe cross also has links with several other stone carvings in the immediate neighbourhood (Rathmichael, Kiltuck).

Given the worn state of the sculpture, the cross at Fassaroe is difficult to date; the bent head and long neck of the crucified Christ might suggest comparison with Gothic art, but in Ireland these features are also apparent on a late 12thc bronze from Skellig Michael (National Museum of Ireland). The conical mitre can be compared with that at Dysert O Dea (Clare), though this form of mitre can also be found later in the Middle Ages. The straight angles formed at the intersection of the cross arms recur on 12thc crosses at Tuam (Galway). Taking these points together, a date in the second half of the 12thc, perhaps as late as c.1200, can be tentatively suggested.


P. O' hEailidhe, 'Fassaroe and Associated Crosses', Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 88 (1958), 101–110.

R. O'Floinn, Medieval crucifix figure from Skellig Michael', Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society, 13 (1980), 45–9.