The earliest form of Celtic cross was a basic shape cut into a stone face, marrying pagan and early Christian traditions into a single object. The highly decorative Celtic cross or Irish High Cross that we are familiar with came later in Christian Ireland with the earliest form dating from the 9th century. Myth suggests that St. Patrick created the first Celtic cross by drawing a circle around the crossed points of a traditional Latin cross.
The circle joining the arms of the High Cross is thought to represent eternity. The faces of the circle are usually carved with intricate Celtic knotwork designs, which are thought to have a spiritual significance of their own. The main body and arms of the High cross tend to be decorated with scenes from the Bible. Many ruins of Celtic crosses can be seen at historical monastery sites in Ireland and are well worth a visit.
The Celtic Cross has become an unofficial symbol of Celtic Ireland and is often worn as jewelry or as Celtic Cross Tattoos. In this way the Celtic artistic heritage has found a new form of expression with modern Celts.