People around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a wide variety of ways, from eating Irish-themed meals to attending parades to enjoying masterpieces of Irish art. Though the history of Irish art begins around 3200 BC with Neolithic stone carvings at the Newgrange megalithic tomb, most people are most familiar with Irish art beginning during medieval times.
Medieval Irish masterpieces include some of the most well-known artistic metalwork in history. One of the most remarkable pieces is the Tara Brooch. This ring-shaped brooch is on display at the National Museum of Ireland. Crafted in fine metal filigree with interlace patterns, the Tara Brooch is a cultural masterpiece depicting a variety of animal and abstract motifs on both the front and back.
Another beautiful piece of medieval art from Ireland is the famous illuminated manuscript known as The Book of Kells. This vibrantly decorated manuscript contains the four Gospels of the Bible’s New Testament along with a few other texts; it is illustrated elaborately with motifs that include figures of humans, animals, and mythical beasts, and Celtic knots and interlacing patterns. The Book of Kells is a cultural treasure of Ireland, on display in Dublin at the Trinity College Library.
High Crosses are also key medieval Irish artworks that can be found at most Irish monastic sites. The 18-foot tall Muiredach’s High Cross is considered the best example of one of these ornately carved stone crosses. This cross shows the Crucifixion and Last Judgement of Jesus in the center, with other Biblical scenes on the main shaft; there are also panels of interlace patterns on the sides. Muiredach’s High Cross is located in the monastic ruins of Monasterboice, in County Louth, Ireland.
If you ever have an opportunity to visit the Emerald Isle, make sure to include visits to see masterpieces of Medieval Irish Arts such as the Tara Brooch, The Book of Kells, and Muiredach’s High Cross. In the meantime, you can explore Irish art works online through virtual tours offered by many of the country’s museums.
The Naples Art District is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization that boasts the largest concentration of working artists in Southwest Florida. The unique coalition of over 80 individual visual artists who maintain studios and galleries in the District hosts live events throughout the year, such as monthly “Art Alive!” events and the annual Art & Design Expo which highlights the collaboration between the fine artists and interior designers that call the District home. The Naples Art District also encourages member artists to share their talents in other ways: many of the member artists offer workshops and classes to the public. The District publishes an online calendar of events as well as a list of classes for anyone who wants to explore the fine arts in greater depth. If you are interested in learning more about the Naples Art District and its role as a cultural attraction in the community, please don’t hesitate to contact the organization any time for more information.