The Stained Glass Window’s Of James Watson

‘Leisure’
[Extract from the poem by William Henry Davies (1871 – 1940)]

“A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.”

All too often these days, in the hustle and bustle of our individual daily life, we fail to take time to‘stand and stare’, to observe and enjoy with local pride the many historic symbolic gems contained within our own individual communities. Many of these gems are to be found staring us in the face on a daily basis, their significance now perhaps partially erased from the blackboards of our minds, as we go about scratching a livelihood for ourselves and our dependants.

The Watson stained glass window in St Mary’s Church, Thurles, which we discuss hereunder, is one such perhaps temporary forgotten artistic gem.

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Left To Right: (1) The ‘Watson of Youghal’ stained glass window, St Mary’s Church, Thurles, Tipperary. (2) William Holman Hunt’s original painting “The Light of the World”. (3) Photo of artist William Holman Hunt in eastern dress.

The original allegorical portrait (centre above) depicted by James Watson in this stained glass window is the work of renowned Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt. This work, entitled “The Light of the World,” was originally painted by night in a makeshift hut at Worcester Park Farm in Surrey, England, between the years 1851 & 1853. Due to Holman Hunt’s failing eyesight, he was assisted in the completion of a larger version of this painting by the English painter Edward Robert Hughes.

The painting (Centre above) and stained glass depiction (Left above) both show the figure of Jesus Christ knocking on a door and careful further study indicates that this same painted overgrown entrance has remained unopened for some considerable time. In his painting Holman Hunt is attempting to illustrate a quote from the New Testament scriptures; to be precise the Book of Revelation: Chapter 3: Verse 20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me”. Viewers of the original painting will note that this depicted door has no visible handle and can therefore only be opened from the inside, thus representing the choice given to the closed and unsure minds of both lapsed Christians and non-believers.

Here in Thurles regrettably, we do not have Holman Hunt’s wonderful painting “The Light of the World,” to view; same lovers of art must travel to the Chapel at Keble College, Oxford, or to St Paul’s Cathedral in London, where a later version, latter which once toured the world, has now taken up residents. However here in Thurles we do own the next best thing; “The Light of the World,” as depicted by renowned stained glass artist James Watson of Youghal, Co Cork.

James Watson, born in England circa 1860, came from a long line of English stained-glass manufacturing artists. In 1888, attracted by the growth in church building in Ireland, both Catholic and Protestant, James moved to Youghal, with his wife, Mary and his sons Hubert and Maurice. His reputation as a stained glass artist soon became a by-word for artistic excellence, with the importing of brilliantly coloured glass from Europe; the red from England, the best blue’s, orange and yellow’s coming from France and the green’s coming from Germany. Watson would eventually go on to exhibit his stained glass at the St Louis World’s Fair of 1904.

Using large detailed artistic drawings called “cartoons,” painting was undertaken using a translucent stain
which was then applied in numerous layers, giving that masterful effect of light and shade. The final tiny details achieved often using a needle and each complex masterpiece produced demanding several firings. The required leading, joining each piece of painted glass, had to be made by a hand cranked machine, while thermally insulated chambers or kilns used, took days to fire up.

Although the Watson workshop survived until recently, maintained by successive generations of the Watson family, much of the firm’s finest work was done in the early years of the 20th century, as can be seen in the designs and drawings displayed currently at the Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place, Cork, under the stewardship of Exhibition Curator M/s Vera Ryan, latter who recently visited Thurles to view the Watson window in St Mary’s Church.

Note: A truly magnificent “Watson Archive Exhibition” is currently on display at the Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place, Cork, containing some one thousand works on paper, including records, account books and other material. This exhibition will only run until March 2015, but is a must see for lovers of art and indeed Tipperary history.

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Walk Our National Pilgrim Paths

Thousands of Irish people and overseas visitors are expected to tread our National Pilgrim Paths on April 4th, 2015.

 

Kilcommon Mass Rock

Kilcommon Mass Rock, Thurles, Co Tipperary.

Ireland’s National Pilgrim Paths Day, on April 4th next, is aimed at raising awareness of our country’s wide network of pilgrim routes, while also providing a more general appreciation of our medieval Christian heritage.

To this end on Saturday, April 4th, 2015, large numbers of Irish people and overseas visitors are expected to retrace their ancestral heritage this coming Easter Weekend, as they take to this countries ancient pilgrim paths, to celebrate Ireland’s second ‘National Pilgrim Paths Day’.

This new Easter Festival will see a nationwide series of non-denominational, pilgrim walks taking place on Ireland’s medieval penitential trails. Last year, there were over 1,800 participants for Ireland’s inaugural Pilgrim Paths Day and this year it is expected that the numbers will be even higher.

On Pilgrim Paths Day, events will take place on each of Ireland’s 12 Medieval Pilgrim Paths including 3 pilgrim paths in County Tipperary. They are Kilcommon Pilgrim Loop, (Information, 062 78103), St Declan’s Way (Information, 086 354 1700) and Holycross Pilgrim Path (Information, 087 7962177).

Heritage guides from these communities will lead each event while outlining the story of the route and explaining how medieval penitents coped with their arduous journeys.

There will also be a reflection and thanksgiving at the end of the walk.

For full details of all pilgrim walks nationwide take the time to visit; www. pilgrimpath.ie

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Tipperary’s Molly Sterling Bound For 60th Eurovision Song Contest

Tipperary’s Molly Sterling will represent Ireland at the 60th Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria, this year, 2015.

Thanks to the musical and vocal talents of Molly Sterling, latter a 16-year-old secondary school student from Puckane in Nenagh – Co. Tipperary may not remain ‘Hidden’ thankfully for much longer.

The final vote lay in the hands of the general public and it was down to a two-horse race last night, as 16 year old Tipperary Musician and Songstress Molly Sterling edged out runner-up performer Kat Mahon, latter singing ‘Anybody Got a Shoulder,’ by four points (Total of 104 points), on RTE 1’s ‘The Late Late Show.’

Molly’s song “Playing With Numbers” was co-written with Greg French and rendered live last night on TV with the passion and feeling of a professional performer twice her age.

Entertainer Panti Bliss, one of the four commenting RTE panel members, which also included Phil Coulter, Linda Martin and Mairead Farrell, insisted “This is the song for me,” even before the voting had commenced.

Make no mistake the eyes of all true music lovers here in Tipperary and indeed nationally, will now be thoroughly focused with pride on Molly’s assured progress into the future.

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Replicas Of Archaeological Artefacts Exhibition

LibraryExecutive Librarian M/s Ann Marie Brophy Reports;

Thurles Library, The Source Complex, Cathedral Street Thurles is proud to present an exhibition of ‘Replicas of Archaeological Artefacts’.

The exhibition will open on Tuesday 10th February at 7.00 p.m. and will be launched by Mattie McGrath TD. All are welcome to attend.

This exhibition will run until Tuesday 10th March, during normal Thurles Library opening hours. [e.g. Monday: 10.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. / 2.00 p.m. – 5.30 p.m. Tuesday & Thursday: 10.00 a.m. – 8.30 p.m. Friday: 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Saturday: 10.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. / 2.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.]

Created by Mr Edward Moten-Letsome, the exhibition features objects in stone, wood, leather, copper and silver; from Early Man through to Egyptian, Greek, Inca, Aztec, Olmec and Viking periods. Edward has also crafted agricultural items from our own Irish heritage.

Edward was originally born at Tullaskeagh, Roscrea but moved to the picturesque Gaeltacht village of Newcastle in 2006. He is a self-taught sculptor and artist. Edward says, “It was during one of my many walks on Bothar na nGall, latter situated in the South Tipperary mountains, that I was inspired to create these artefacts.”

Edward uses the artefacts on display to illustrate his 40 minute talk, which covers the evolution of Early Man and his progress up to the Viking period. Edward hopes that the people who visit this free exhibition will derive as much pleasure from it as he has from sculpting the objects.

If you are interested in bringing a group to this exhibition please contact Thurles Library on Tel: (0504) 29720.

This exhibition should be of particular interest to schools and other educational groups and offers all visiting students and their teachers an ideal opportunity to also visit other interesting primary resource centres, which are within easy distance of this immediate area, e.g. St Mary’s Famine & War Museum Tel: (0504) 21133; Lár na Páirce GAA Museum Tel: (0504) 22702; Cormackstown Heritage Centre Tel: 085-7131584 and the Cabragh Wetlands Trust Tel: Tel: (0504) 43879.

Note: In the case of all of the above named venues, booking in advance is essential to ensure a qualified tour guide is present during your visit.

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Barack Obama Researcher Stephen Neill Moves To New Pastures

S-NeillChurch of Ireland Rector, Canon Stephen Neill, the man who confirmed US President Barack Obama’s ancestral roots with Moneygall, has decided to pull up and relocate his own roots.

The 45 year old has announced he is leaving his Cloughjordan and the Borrisokane Group of parishes to become Rector of Celbridge and Straffan with Newcastle–Lyons. His Service of Institution as Incumbent of the latter parishes will take place on Thursday, February 12th, 2015 next at 8.00pm in Christ Church, Celbridge, Co Kildare.

Canon Neill has ministered to Cloughjordan residents for the past seventeen years and as part of his move, he now relinquishes his Church of Ireland “Canon” status; laughingly admitting “I will be getting €50 less a month in salary, so I’m not going for the money.”

In explaining his desire to uproot, Canon Neill explains that he now seeks new challenges and fears becoming “too comfortable,” latter which has caused “an itch that needs to be scratched.”

Canon Neill admits that leaving the Cloughjordan and Borrisokane Group of parishes won’t be easy for himself, or for his wife Nicola and their teenage son Aaron. He feels a sense of guilt and regret walking away, after such a long time, having secured strong bonds of proven loyalty and tested friendships with those within his community; all of whom have stood together with him, through thick and thin.

The Dublin born Canon, who is also Precentor of the joint chapter of St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick and St Flannan’s Cathedral, Killaloe, made headlines around the world after his research led to the confirmation that US President Barack Obama’s great-great-grandfather Joseph Kearney had been baptised in the parish of Moneygall. Indeed his personal contribution, within the wider midland regions of Ireland to encourage tourism alone, has been outstanding.

Click HERE to view Video below in HD

Canon Neill himself is a very keen reader, blogger and writer, contributing opinion pieces on his website and on local and national newspapers. Previously Curate Assistant in Monkstown, Dublin and in Limerick City Parish, he is a committed ecumenist, believing that the future of our Churches is in gaining closer bonds between all Christians of all traditions, while at the same time discovering where God is at work outside the walls of churches.

Rev Ruth Gill, latter who is already familiar with the Cloughjordan & Borrisokane Group of parishes will now serve as interim Priest-In-Charge for the time being.

In a recent Blog Canon Neill wrote:-

“As I write these notes I am conscious that there is still an occasion to come when I will have a chance to say a formal farewell to you my friends in this group of parishes. But for those of you who may not be able to be present may I thank you on behalf of myself, Nicola & Aaron, for the warmth and generosity you have shown us since our arrival in August 1998. It has been a privilege to be your rector and fellow companion on the journey of life. We will always consider this place very special and it is you the parishioners who have made our time here a happy one. We leave with good memories and not a little sadness. May God bless each and every one of you as you have blessed us.”

Moneygall Development Association made a presentation last Monday night in Ollie’s Bar to acknowledge Canon Neill’s contribution to their community; described him as being selfless and having strengthened bonds between faiths which will remain a lasting legacy. Using President Obama’s quote, “We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it” the association whole heartedly agreed that Canon Neill’s presence in their community had definitely shaped a brighter future for the area.

North Tipperary’s loss is most definitely a gain for the Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough and so we wish Canon Stephen every success in his new journey and in the words of the old Irish Toast; “May you have warm words on a cool evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.”

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