Detailed figural sculptures of biblical stories (both Old and New Testaments) decorate the cross on the east and west sides; geometric and interlace ornamentations are carved on the narrower north and south sides. A series of zodiacal figures adorn the base. Its capstone is a tiny roofed building or miniature oratory, perhaps representing a reliquary. It includes a depiction of St Paul and St Anthony in the (Egyptian) desert.
The east side of Muiredach’s cross, as is usual for High Crosses, focuses on images from the Old Testament. It begins at the base with a scene from the Garden of Eden, then moves up to Cain and Abel, David and Goliath, Moses, and the Magi. Within the wheeled center and extending through both arms is Christ at the Last Judgment. According to Nigel Pennick, this image is “based on the iconography of the resurrected Egyptian god, Osiris. Christ is holding a cross and Irminsul-staff in the Osirian position, and on his head is an eagle that resembles the crown of Egyptian gods and pharaohs”. Pennick interprets the figure to the left of Christ as Pan with his pipes, the harp-playing figure on the right as either King David or Apollo.
The west side is devoted, more or less, to the life of Christ, beginning at the base (above the inscription and some charming Celtic cats) with his arrest at Gethsemane and continuing upward to his crucifixion (complete with soldiers mocking Christ) and then his Resurrection. On the north side, under the outstretched cross-arm, is a depiction of the Hand of God (Dextera Dei) with a nimbus of power behind it, above intertwining vines with human heads.
The West Cross or Tall Cross stands near the north church and the round tower. It is 7m (23ft) high, the tallest High Cross in Ireland or anywhere else. It also is covered with biblical scenes, though they are badly eroded. On the east side of the crosshead is a carving of David killing a lion with a hurley stick and ball—the earliest depiction of the game in Ireland. The west side includes another crucifixion scene. The North Cross, which has been heavily reconstructed, stands to the north, next to what remains of an old stone sundial.
Monasterboice is in a delightful rural setting, surrounded by a low stone wall and numerous trees. It is neither neglected nor over-developed. There is no charge for entry. Visiting Monasterboice is like discovering a new friend—but one that you feel you have known for a long, long time, and one that you look forwarded to seeing again.
Source Powerful Places in Ireland