St Canice, friend of St Columba and one of the twelve apostles of St. Finian who founded the well known school at Clonard, established a monastery in Finglas in the 6th Century. In the 9th Century the early Christians carved a granite cross in the image of one carved by Canice. The seven foot high Nethercross or Lowercross stood on the northern boundary of the village on the grounds of the abbey at a place which is still called Watery Lane until word spread that Cromwell had landed at Ringsend in 1649. The townsmen quickly dismantled and buried the cross in the graveyard, disguised as a new grave, to protect it from desecration by Cromwell’s troops. The cross remained buried for 160 years. Robert Walsh in his book “Fingal and its Churches” explains how his grandfather, the Rev. Robert Walsh, became curate of the parish in 1806. He was subsequently Vicar of it. He was a man of literary and antiquarian pursuits.
The oral tradition of the burial of the cross having reached his ears, he resolved, if possible, to trace it to its foundation. His search was rewarded. He discovered an extremely old man who told the family story as handed down to him. His grandfather, when a boy, had been present at the burial of the cross in a corner of one of the Glebe fields. Dr. Walsh proceeded with some workmen to the spot indicated in this traditional story. In due time he unearthed the cross from its resting place of 160 years, and had it erected in the southeast corner of the ancient graveyard where it now stands. Just north of the cross is the ancient Church of St. Canice (now in ruin).