“A kind of gospel in glass”: stained glass from the Church of the Holy Trinity, Fethard, Tipperary.

“A kind of gospel in glass”: stained glass from the Church of the Holy Trinity, Fethard, Tipperary.

Every so often I have blogged pictures of stained glass, mainly from various Tipperary locales but also from further afield. I have found that this has led me to discoveries like the windows of Cloneen and the work of Murphy Devitt Studios.

Looking out for stained glass had made me aware of beauty that I would not have noticed otherwise. I have visited Fethard, Co Tipperary, very many times, and I have visited the Church of the Holy Trinity (the Catholic one) once or twice. It had struck me before as an imposing facade but I had not been particularly drawn to it, as opposed to the  Augustinian Abbey down the road .

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Visiting again with a deliberate eye to stained glass, all was changed. There is a wide range of styles and settings for the stained glass here, from traditional pious image to stylised, near-impressionistic works. It is an immensely rewarding experience to visit, an once again I can only apologise for the quality of the camera work.

Indeed, for this post I initially thought I would split the post into three or even four, but have decided to use slideshows to help illustrate the range of work.

On entering the Church, one finds stained glass work on the doors inside. These images are among the hardest to photograph as the stairs and floor behind the glass tended to crowd out the image. These panels features a range of saints and symbols:

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Above the entrance doors to this lobby we see a wonderful window depicting the Trinity. Visual depictions of God the Father are generally rare, so I thought this warranted a close-up:

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Into the main church, and in a series of panels just above the very back of the nave we have the text of the Apostles Creed with appropriate imagery.  First a rather ill-lit image of the whole thing:

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And now a slide show (particular apologies for slide quality):

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There is a beautiful chapel of Perpetual Adoration here (although it was empty when I visited) which features the  most distinctively “modern” glass:

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20170621_13565920170621_13565120170621_135706(0)A particularly delightful feature was the pair of windows in the choir balcony, either side of the organ. These feature Biblical images of music, featuring Kings David (I am reasonably confident) and Solomon (I am less confident):

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Here is a close up of Solomon (I think):

20170621_135858The main body of the church features a range of striking windows. I thought I discerned a loose theme of education (broadly defined):

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There were also images of grief evident in another side chapel. For some reason I didn’t get a photo of the main central image which as far as I recall was the Crucifixion:

There were also four images of the evangelists on the lower windows each side of the transept:

20170621_13551920170621_13552620170621_13554420170621_135553Finally, here is the altarpiece itself:

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All in all, this visit was one of the most revelatory of my stained glass experience. It was a treat to see so much glass in one, relatively modest, parish church, and imagery of such richness and suggestive power. I felt something of what it might have been like in a more visually literate culture, where this imagery was a sort of gospel in glass.

Hore Abbey, Cashel

Hore Abbey, Cashel


Hore Abbey is literally overshadowed by theRock of Cashel. It is well worth taking the path down from the Rock to the considerably less touristed Abbey. There is a relative lack of interpretative material, to say the least, except for this interesting information, especially on what I suspect was a rather convenient dream:

 

The abbey is reached by paths via a field which was populated by cows (and cowpats) aplenty. One doubts a Royal Visit is imminent.
From above on the Rock it appears a somewhat slight structure, an impression quickly corrected closer to. An air of monumentality remains, all the more accentuated for the relative abandonment.

World Labyrinth Day 2017 – May 6th, 1 pm

From the Blog My Maze site:

Again you are invited from The Labyrinth Society to celebrate the World Labyrinth Day: Celebrate the eighth annual World Labyrinth Day (WLD) on Saturday, May 6, 2017! The Labyrinth Society invites you to ‘Walk as One at 1″ in the afternoon, joining others around the globe to create a wave of peaceful energy washing across the time […]

No doubt the labyrinth of Mr Price  will get a walking…. (and rebuilding):img_2421

Or perhaps the not terribly distant labyrinth of Glencomeragh:

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Or that of the Rock of Cashel:
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Murphy Devitt Stained Glass from Franciscan Abbey, Clonmel.

Murphy Devitt Stained Glass from Franciscan Abbey, Clonmel.

 

Over recent months I have been blogging pictures of stained glass mainly (but not exclusively) from Tipperary churches. These photos are taken with my phone and I cannot claim to have cracked how best to do this, often they are taken in a somewhat rushed manner as I am a little self conscious about this at times. These churches are after all places of worship and I am loath to disturb or distract.

I started this meaning to record, as best I could, what is very much a neglected art form. Even the smallest Irish village will have a church, and often multiple churches, which will feature stained glass. Some of these images have struck me as exceptionally moving and beautiful, some aesthetically interesting, some culturally interesting (from instance the way the image of St Monica and St Augustine in the Augustinian Abbey in Fethard is based on a popular religious painting of the time)

There is also the sheer joy of discovery of, for instance, the stained glass in the Church of the Visitation, Cloneen, or of the fact that the stained glass in the stained glass in the Chapel of St Anthony in the Franciscan Abbey in Clonmel was from Murphy Devitt studios.

Since then I corresponded with Reiltin Murphy, daughter of John Murphy, and found out there are other examples of Murphy Devitt glass not only in Tipperary but in Clonmel. Indeed some is in the main body of the church in the very same Franciscan Abbey:

 

Stained glass from St Mary’s Church, Grangemockler, Tipperary

Stained glass from St Mary’s Church, Grangemockler, Tipperary

Grangemockler Church is most famous for its links to Michael Hogan, victim of the 1920 Bloody Sunday and namesake of the stand.
It has a selection of attractive stained glass, including images of a pelican  (believed to feed it’s own blood to its young, and therefore akin to Christ, more info here) St Patrick and the Crucifixion 

Many churches will have many panels of relatively plain stained glass, some indeed barely coloured at all. This glass is less striking than other pieces usually, but here is a good example of how light can illuminate  even a plain ish window into something more…. not that this photo adequately captured the effect:

Here is another panel, more elaborate but not represational as such, which I found striking.