The Mystery of the Relic in St. Patrick's Baptistery

I'm on something of a quest here.

As I needed to be in New York last week for the AlwaysOn Media conference, and Sausage's birthday was the Friday right before the conference, we used some of our points to have a weekend in the Big Apple, sans kids.

The hotel we stayed in (the superb, affordable, and highly recommended Affinia 50) was just down the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral, so we stopped in on the Friday afternoon, en route to pick up tickets for The Drowsy Chaperone (also superb and highly recommended).

St. Patrick's is truly and quite literally an awe-inspiring building. Even if you're not Catholic - or not even remotely religious - I would still recommend a visit if you have a free hour in NYC. It's a genuinely impressive, peaceful, and inspiring space.

Since our visit to the Cathedral, though, I've been pursuing a bit of a mystery without much success. I wonder if anyone out there can shed some light on this.

In the Baptistery of the Cathedral, in front of the magnificent font, stands a glass case holding a beautiful Celtic cross, clearly made of Waterford crystal glass.

The Baptistery of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

In the centre of the cross is what appears to be a tiny relic - but a relic of what (or of whom)?

I Googled myself into a froth this morning, trying to find some clues. Turned up the photo above on Webshots, without too much trouble, but when it comes to information on the provenance of the cross or the relic it holds, my Google Chi has failed me, alas.

I'm guessing it's a relic of St. Patrick - that would make sense - but who knows? We couldn't see any signage on or near the glass case.

Someone out there must have the keys to this mystery. Time to fire up the Klieg lights and send up the AKMA-signal, perhaps...