The National Museum has announced that the 12th century Cross of Cong is to be transferred from the Museum of Archaeology in Dublin to Co Mayo where it will be put on display for the next year.

The highly ornate processional cross is one of the country's most important medieval art treasures and is regarded as one of the finest examples of early Irish Christian art.

It is believed it was made in Roscommon about the year 1123 to house a relic of the True Cross, which had been acquired by the then High King of Ireland, Turlough O Connor.

The cross was preserved in the Augustinian Abbey at Cong in Co Mayo until the 1830s when it was acquired by the Royal Irish Academy.

It was subsequently added to the collection of the National Museum.

Next week it will be transferred to the Museum of Country Life at Turlough House, near Castlebar, where it will be put on display for the next year.

It is the first time that it will ever have been taken from the museum in Dublin.

It is expected that it will attract thousands of visitors to the Castlebar museum this year.