Sunday, September 15, 2013

Black Abbey, Kilkenny, Ireland

We just got back from a trip to Ireland where we saw many churches, so they will be sprinkled in among other posts serving as churches for Sundays. I expect the other Ireland posts to start in mid-October since there's a lot more of America to get through first!

Black Abbey is home to the Dominican order in Kilkenny. They established the church as the Abbey of the Most Holy Trinity in 1225. Attached to the church is the house for the Dominican fathers to live and study.

Black Abbey, Kilkenny, Ireland

The grounds include a statue to St. Dominic, a much more prominent one of Our Lady, and a Sacred Heart of Jesus statue tucked into the corner by the church entrance.

St. Dominic admiring the church from across the street

Our Lady who is actually in the churchyard

Jesus in the corner

Inside are several striking features. The most obvious feature is that a south transept was added to the church but no north transept, resulting in a L-shaped interior that is hard to capture in pictures.


Altar from the corner between the nave and south transept

The south transept looking like another nave

View from the statue of St. Dominic by the altar (J on the left)

The Dominicans' black capes are the inspiration for the name "Black Abbey." Such capes can be seen on the statues inside the church, where St. Dominic and St. Martin de Porres are honored. St. Dominic's statue is carved from oak and dates from the time before Henry VIII! Cromwell's soldiers damaged the statue in the 1600s but it has been since restored.

St. Dominic made it inside!

St. Martin de Porres with some nice stained glass and a tacky halo

The most famous feature of the church is the amazing stained glass windows. Several are dedicated to saints such as Patrick, Brigid, Dominic, Raymond, and Rose of Lima.

Sts. Patrick and Brigid

St. Dominic receives the rosary from Our Lady

Sts. Raymond and Rose of Lima

Our Lady is given pride of place, naturally, and one astonishing window at the end of the south transept shows the life of Christ in the mysteries of the rosary. The window extends from the roof to the floor and includes almost 500 square feet of glass. The Joyful Mysteries are on the bottom row, with the Sorrowful above, and the Glorious on top. The window clearly predates John Paul II's addition of the Luminous Mysteries.

Our Lady in various apparitions

Holy Rosary window

A funny story about the church is that L was carrying a tin-foil sword the day we visited. She brought it to the church but laid it aside when she entered, which was definitely good of her to do.

Laying her sword at Christ's feet

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