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Monday, September 21, 2009

Glance at Glass: Glenflesk.


If one would sneeze at the wrong time, driving from Killarney to Cork, the village
of Glenflesk could be easily missed.
It nearly happened to myself and this was while specifically looking for the place !
Only because I was in desperate need of a Snicker and came walking out of the petrol
station after buying one, I noticed the church across the road, the very
one I was looking for all along.

The significance of the glorious stuff in this church can hardly be over stated.
Apart from the mosaics around the altar which very much reminded me of the ones in the Franciscan Friary in Killarney, it is really the six grand windows of the Harry Clarke studios that immediately attract the eye.

Now, how did a village like Glenflesk gain possession of something like this I wonder.
Wait till I tell you..., without boring you with a whole pile of history, here's the short version:
Collis-Sandes House in Tralee, formerly known as Oak Park House was build in about 1857/1860.
In 1923 the Presentation Order of Nuns bought the place and gave it a bit of a face lift I'd imagine.
In the process acquiring some hip stained glass from Dublin, which looked kind of all right in the brochure, so to say.
When the Nuns left Collis Sandes house in the early seventies one of the more prominent nuns had very close
links with guess what...., Glenflesk. So that's how it went!

On a more serious note, have a very close look at the stained glass and the way things are done.
The figures are their usual high and tall. Colours are just something else. One piece of glass can have four different colours because of the superb combination between choice of glass, shading, etching and silver staining, as shown in the example given here. Also take note of the six toed feet. Two feet with six toes each
is not completely unusual when it comes to depiction of figures in ecclesiastical art work.
But the question of why this is, can better be posed to the lovely Fr. Bill Radley of Glenflesk.
He most certainly is better able to explain than I would.

Thanks go to:
Fr. Bill Radley of Glenflesk.
Writer and historian Turtle Bunbury.
Author Bernadette Walsh, book: A history of Collis-Sandes House.
And the anonymous nun who brought the glass to Glenflesk.

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