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MacLean's Cross

A fine example of a free-standing Celtic cross which represents one of the most popular monuments on the island of Iona in the Inner Hebrides, MacLean's Cross is located close to Iona Parish Church, next to the ancient Srid nam Marbh (or 'street of the dead') in Baile Mor, a path used by funeral processions conveying kings and chieftains to their last resting place in St. Oran's Graveyard on the sacred island. The wheel-headed cross comprises a monolithic stone slab around 3.3m (11 feet) in height. It is carved on both sides with interlaced plaitwork and foliage. The wheel-head is decorated with two animals on its east side (facing the road) and a crucifixion scene on its west side. The soldier on horseback carved at the foot of the shaft may be a depiction of the MacLean chief who commissioned the monument around 1500. It was the work of the so-called Iona School of stone-carvers who worked here between the 14th and 16th C.

MacLean's Cross is protected by Historic Environment Scotland.


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