The Market Cross of Kells was erected in 804.

Council examines new home options for Kells Cross

The possibility of showcasing the historic Kells Market Cross at a shop building in Cross Street in the town is to be examined by Meath County Council.

The feasibility of using the building to provide social housing, while using the ground floor to house the 1200 year cross will be investigated by council officials.

Kells Municipal Council members are also expected to meet representatives of the Office of Public Works on 7th December to discuss the future of the 1200 year old cross and other issues in the town.

At a municipal meeting yesterday (Monday) all seven councillors proposed a motion "requesting Meath County Council and the OPW to examine the feasibility of acquiring the vacant premises, known as TP Rogers, on the corner of Cross Street and Market Street in Kells, with the objective of converting the premises into a permanent indoor location to house the Market Cross in the historic core of Kells town centre.”

The initial response from the executive was that the council were not considering the purchase of any further public buildings in Kells and that councillors had not allocated funding for the project this year.

However, Cllr Sean Drew and Sarah Reilly proposed also using the building to provide social housing, as a way of securing funding for the project.

Director of Services, Darragh McGowan said they would investigate that possibility.

The cross, which had been located at Cross Street until 1996, was moved from that busy location after it was hit by a bus.

A former town councillor, Frances Monaghan recently proposed the county council consider locating the cross back to Cross Street, in that building, to keep the priceless structure safe from the elements.

The ninth century cross is currently located outside the Kells Heritage Centre – the former Kells Courthouse.

Cllr Sean Drew told last night's meeting that the cross had originally been located in the vicinity of Cross Street and in monastic times, "when you passed that cross you were within the sanctuary of the monastery."

"When the cross was located to where it is today, it was on the proviso that it be relocated back to where we are talking about now.

"At the time, the OPW wanted it to be kept indoors to protect it from the elements," he said.

"This is now a once in a lifetime opportunity to relocate it back to its original location."

Cllr Sarah Reilly said it was a unique opportunity for Kells and suggested that part of the building could be made available for social housing.

"The cross could be housed on the ground floor and we could have floor to ceiling glass"

At the council's October meeting, Cllr Eugene Cassidy proposed the council write to the OPW about the future of the Cross " including exploring the option of returning the cross to Cross Street and what the requirements might be if this is considered feasible."

Following the accident in 1996, the cross was removed from the town for repair and the National Monuments Service indicated it would prefer if the structure was housed indoors.