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Kilkenny’s Throne of Grace

Kilkenny’s Throne of Grace

This alabaster image of the Holy Trinity from the Black Abbey in Kilkenny represents the towering figure of the seated and crowned God the Father, with his right hand raised in blessing, in front of him is the crucified Christ, whose cross hovers over the knees of the Father, while a dove of the Holy Spirit rests on the top shaft of the cross. The Father’s elaborate crown stresses the heavenly glory of the Trinity, while Christ’s crown of thorns emphasises the Son’s human suffering.

A Gift from the French

A History of the Irish Dominicans in 100 Objects (#2)

There is a book circulating in the Studium of the Irish Dominican Province that has been around for most of the last hundred years of the eight that we are celebrating. It can tell a tale of how some of those who taught there related to the theological life of the Church in the years before and after the Second Vatican Council. The three names hand-written on the inside of the front cover page are of men who taught the part of Theology called Dogma in the Studium from 1930s to 1970s. The book has been marked and underlined in a way that tells something about them and the Studium in which they worked. As well as the marks it bears, it also has paper-clipped into it a faded, half-page letter. It is from the author of the book, the French Dominican M.-D. Chenu, and tells something about the man who wrote it. Along with the letter there is a cutting from a newspaper which tells something of how that man was seen by Church authorities in his day…

A 15th-century Cross from Sligo Abbey

A 15th-century Cross from Sligo Abbey

Writing in the wake of the dissolution of the monasteries, the scribe of the Annals of Loch Cé laments that ‘there was not in Erinn a holy cross […] over which [English protestant] power reached, that was not burned’ (1538).  Be it through iconoclasm, loss, or choice of materials, few crosses from medieval Ireland have survived to the present day.  One survivor is a fifteenth-century floriated latten cross with a gilt figure and blue champlevé enamel terminals with symbols of the Evangelists associated with the Dominican friary in Sligo.  The cross was purchased by the National Museum of Ireland in 1982 from the Dominican Fathers in St Mary’s, Tallaght for the sum of £2,500.