THE CELTIC CROSS AT HAROLD’S CROSS WAS SCULPTED BY JOSEPH COURTNEY
One explanation of the origin of the name is that it is derived from the name given to a gallows, which had been placed where the current Harold’s Cross Park is situated; however, gallows in medieval times were primarily used to support weighing scales for markets and toll/tax collection and less for executions. It is the case that Harold’s Cross was an execution ground for the city of Dublin up to the 18th century, but it also was a key entry point to the greater city where tolls might have been collected. In the 14th century a gallows there was maintained by the Archbishop.
The site of the park was originally used as commonage around which the village was located. A maypole stood here from medieval times until the 19th century and was a centre for festivities every May.
The green was a key meeting place for members of the United Irishmen including Robert Emmet in planning the 1798 rebellion.
The green was converted into a park in the 1890s. Designed by William Sheppard (buried in Mount Jerome) who also designed St. Stephen’s Green, it now includes many specimen trees, a water feature, a playground and a café.
The Celtic cross at the northern end of the park, sculpted by local stonemason, Joseph Courtney, was erected in 1954 to the memory of the volunteers with the 4th Battalion, Dublin Brigade of the old I.R.A. since 1916. The ancient May Festival was revived recently and is now held annually in the Park.
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