Cheekpoint’s cross

A recent Facebook and Twitter post of the Cross on Cheekpoints Green, prompted a large reaction and got several comments particularly from an international audience asking why was the cross overlooking the village and when was it put there.   
My recent snow photo 
One of our oldest residents, Pat Murphy, has previously told me that the Cross on the Green was originally erected in 1913 by the local community. It followed a visit by a priest from the missions who came to preach in the parish about his work overseas. A collection was taken up and offered to the man, which he apparently refused but asked that it be put to some “spiritual” use. Just how a decision was made can only be guessed but it was decided to erect the Cross. And if the photo below is anything to go by, the unveiling (if this is indeed such) was a very large occasion.
photo credit Tomás Sullivan
The Cross was moved from the middle of the Green, sometime in the late 1950’s.  It was put in the top corner of the Green, just behind where the present grotto is located, on a rocky outcrop.  At some point, again according to Pat, Denny Murphy and Tommy Doherty did some remedial work to hold it all together including an iron bar support placed at the rear.
The Cross, in this position, was a regular meeting point as it was on a direct line between the Mount and the back road, when people took the short cut through the “Knock”. Many a weary fisherman trudged home that way. I remember sitting there as a child, particularly as the sun set over “Snow Hill”, getting the last of the summer sun. At that stage the blackened timber was beginning to crumble particularly at the base, and we often joked that the woodworm must be holding it together by joining hands.
I can also remember my aunt Ellen complaining that the Cross should never have been moved and that Cheekpoint would never have luck until it was returned to its original location.  It may have been that, but more likely its imminent collapse, that spurred my uncle, John Doherty, to move it back to it’s rightful place in 1980. Another memory is of the figure of the crucified Jesus in John’s shed as he repaired the plaster from which it was sculpted.  His brother in law Paddy Connolly who is a gifted carpenter, constructed a new teak cross onto which the figure was remounted. The teak cross and repaired figure was repositioned on a new stand and steps.  These were constructed on the green principally by John and Alf Doherty.
Fr. Tom Doyle blessing the new cross summer 1980
Photo via Tomás Sullivan
The only memory I have of any religious use that it was put to, was when the village assembled to say a rosary around it after my brother Joseph was drowned on Sunday August 10th 1980.  We gathered in the evening times praying a rosary that his body would be given back by the River Suir, which it was, on Thursday August 14th.
The Cross needed some repairs again in recent years and its likely that this will be an ongoing task. But whatever the generation or whatever the scale of religious belief we seem to lack no shortage of people willing to maintain and enhance this village feature.
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