Those great stone crosses standing out in Irelands countryside are the countrys greatest contribution to world sculpture, and contain the largest amount of religious carving preserved anywhere in Europe from the last quarter of the first Christian millennium. They are found in what are now churchyards, but were once monasteries of piety and peace which spread Irelands zeal for learning and scholarship across the European continent. These crosses stand as elegant monuments to a high civilisation, and their shape with the characteristic ring around the head became such a potent nationalistic symbol in the mid-nineteenth century that it was used for grave memorials on both sides of the Atlantic for those who wanted to identify themselves as Irish. . . .
The glory of Dr Powells book is that it allows us to stand, figuratively, in front of these High Crosses, to look in wonder at their varying shapes and sizes, and admire the quality of master carvers work of a thousand years ago. . . . It has been a great pleasure for me to re-live visits to these crosses through Dr Powells admirable and often atmospheric pictures, and I hope her sense of wonderment and delight will be communicated through them to the many readers of this truly remarkable volume. , Dr Peter Harbison, Honorary Academic Editor of the Royal Irish Academy, from the Foreword
Born in Dublin, Dr Elinor Powell practiced medicine in Victoria, Canada from 1966 until her recent retirement. She has been taking photographs of Irish High Crosses since the 1980s Ã¢â‚¬â€ photographs which Colum Hourihane, Dublin-born director of the Index of Christian Art at Princeton University, calls Ã¢â‚¬Å“the best he has ever seenÃ¢â‚¬Â.