Up to recent times in parts of West Wicklow and south county Dublin there were Murrain crosses in some fields.
They were erected in the 19th century in the belief that they would protect cattle from the plague-like diseases which were rampant at that time. Some crosses were made of iron and fixed into boulders in the fields where cattle were kept, others were carved from granite. The word “murrain” dates back to the 14th century and comes from the old French word “morine” – which is from “morir” meaning to die. (1)
In 1948 the historian Liam Price came across these crosses in the Dunboyke area (West Wicklow) and was told by a local resident that another existed nearby. Their location is unclear today. However, there is a Murrain Cross in Hollywood (West Wicklow) in the field adjacent to Tutty’s pub.
There are also murrain crosses in Firhouse, and Ballycullen in south county Dublin and at Oldcourt and Blakestown, Co. Wicklow.
We received a very interesting comment about murrain crosses in England. Follow this link: https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/features/2019/11/21/tombstones-remember-cattle-plague-victims/
(1) Collins English Dictionary. 1992. HarperCollins Publishers, Glasgow