The Cross on Cheekpoint’s Green

Pat Murphy told me recently that as far as he knew the Cross on the Green was originally erected in 1913 by the local community.

The Cross 2010

It followed a visit by a priest from the missions who came to preach in the parish.  A collection was taken up and offered to the man, who was staying locally and traveling about spreading the Gospels and describing his overseas work.  The missionary refused the money according to Pat, but as a consequence, it was decided to put the money 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 Anthony Rodgers

The Cross was moved from the middle of the Green, probably sometime in the late 1950s.  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 shortcut through the “Knock”.  Many were the weary fisherman that trudged home that way including Paddy and Christy Doherty who kept their boats at the lower quay.  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 its 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 was a gifted carpenter, constructed a new teak cross onto which the figure was remounted.

The teak cross and repaired figure were repositioned on a new stand and steps.  These were constructed on the green by John and Alf Doherty, and probably others helped too, that I have no recollection of.

Probably Fr. Tom Doyle blessing the new cross summer 1980
Photo Credit Tomás Sullivan

Sadly the only memory I have of any religious use that it was put to, was when the village gathered to say a rosary around it in the hope that my brother Joseph would be given back by the River Suir.  He was drowned on Sunday August 10th in 1980 and his body found on Thursday August 14th.

According to Pat another cross was erected in Passage East, at the same time as the Cheekpoint Cross, and arising from the same circumstances.  Pat thought it may have been much smaller and placed in a window of someone’s home.

The Cross is probably a little taken for granted now, but thankfully as in the time of my youth, it still remains a gathering point for our young and not so young.

fun day event on the green 2011
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