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Celtic Crosses In An Irish Landscape – Aran Islands Art

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This little cemetery on the island of Inis Mór (part of the Aran Islands) off the west coast of Ireland was unlike any other I’ve seen. There was simply something very organic about the small cemetery in this print. I’ve visited plenty of small graveyards in my time but none that just seemed to flow with the terrain. There was no clear layout. Celtic crosses seemed to pop out of the ground like wildflowers with no rhyme or reason. It seemed to be a simple informal collection of small monuments in a green landscape. And those monuments appropriately included a generous sprinkling of Celtic crosses. Just what one would expect in a little Irish cemetery, eh?

This was the sight that greeted me one beautiful winter morning on Inis Mór. This small cemetery is on the grounds of a collection of monastic ruins known as Na Seacht dTeampaill (The Seven Churches). The graves in that little cemetery run the gamut from quite old to modern. I’m told there’s an enduring Irish tradition to bury loved ones in ancient hallowed ground like this. That need to squeeze generations into a relatively small location on Inis Mór probably explains much about the haphazard layout of the graves.

The weather on Inis Mór literally seemed to change by the hour. Stormy weather came and went and the moments in between could be gloriously sunny. I’ve heard the same said of Ireland in any season, but my days visiting the largest of the Aran Islands, I saw it in spades. Had I visited this little cemetery another day or even hours later, I would have ended up with a much different atmosphere for my photo. What you see here is what I would have asked for if had placed an order. I loved the pleasant but not cloudless skies and the soft but warm light illuminating the green landscape in this print.

The resulting print of that field of Irish Celtic Crosses in such a beguiling landscape has an almost ethereal feeling. Certainly there’s a great sense of peace on that hallowed ground off the Irish coast. And I think it shines through in this image.


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