A short explanation
Up to recent times in parts of West Wicklow 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. The crosses were made of iron and fixed into boulders in the fields where cattle were kept. 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 and was told by a local resident that another existed nearby. Their location is unclear today. However, there is a Murrain Cross in Hollywood in the field adjacent to Tutty’s pub.
(1) Collins English Dictionary. 1992. HarperCollins Publishers, Glasgow
Comments about this page
Many thanks for that Maria. It’s great to hear another cross exists. Hope you’re enjoying our website.
There’s a Murrain cross at Old Court, Manor Kilbride. The man who lived there when I was a kid, told us that it insignificant and was put there to allow the cows to scratch themselves! Those old guys were always joking us!. Glen Heste Pure Mile Group have a picture of it on page 18 in their publication Ballyward- Woodend Heritage 2018. They also say that according to local knowledge it was erected to keep away a disease known as ‘black leg’ in cattle.
I learn something new every day. Thank you for this introduction to the Murrain Cross.
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