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Thursday, 18 June 2009

Limerick Church


On my visit to Limerick I was shown this late Victorian Church, no prizes for guessing which branch of Christianity it is. The decoration is a glorious mix predominantly influenced by the Romantics or possibly the Art Nouveau school judging by the depiction in one of the chapels of a local priest obviously renowned for his saintly devotions. Unfortunately there was no explanation of who he was to hand and my host couldn't tell me either.

The depiction of the apparently beatified saint is the sort that, when I was a child, gave me a distaste for heaven as it seemed to be filled with impossibly holy people and promised to be deadly dull - and besides who wanted to play a harp? I dare say that the majority of the saints depicted in this manner would be appalled and possibly even angry. It certainly put me in mind of the early Victorian depiction of my beloved St Patrick as a shepherd in impossible clean tunic, neatly arranged hair and the sort of pained look that goes with severe indigestion or possibly the inability to get rid of the detritis of the digestive process. What is it about the depiction of the pious that most artists seem to lose their subjects humanity and their very real sense of being anchored in the world and involved in the daily grind that attends living in it.

Oh well, that's my gripe over with, the church itself was beautiful and obviously well cared for, with many people pausing in their day to simply drop by and light a candle or say a prayer. A holy place I'm thinking.

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