A number of religious relics of the True Cross, stolen from the historic Holycross Abbey in Co Tipperary last October have been recovered by gardaí.

The relics, said to be part of the true cross on which Christ was crucified, as well as a gold and bronze cross, were stolen in a daring raid by a gang of three men on October 11 last.

The gang used a portable angle grinder to forcible cut the relic from its steel cabinet located inside the Abbey.

The theft caused much sadness in the parish of Holycross and among the wider Catholic community and the local Parish priest Fr Tom Breen appealed for it to be returned.

He said it had been a tremendous source of devotion and pilgrimage over the centuries, and that parishioners had been devastated.

Following an extensive investigation by gardaí, the relics have been found relatively intact and unharmed, and returned to Fr Tom Breen at Holycross.

In a statement Archbishop of Cashel & Emly Dermot Clifford said: "It is truly wonderful that the precious Relics of the one True Cross from Holy Cross Abbey have been found, relatively undamaged, through the sterling efforts of the Garda Siochana”

“On behalf of the people of the Diocese of Cashel & Emly may I express our thanks to the Gardai. This is a joyous day and one for which thousands of people had been praying for since the Relics were stolen last October.

“It is still a mystery to us all as to why the Relics were stolen as they had little monetary value. However we must now find measures to protect the Relics.