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Divine Illumination: The Oratory of the Sacred Heart, Dún Laoghaire

Divine Illumination: The Oratory of the Sacred Heart, Dún Laoghaire


Edited by David Gunning, Nigel Curtin and Marian Thérèse Keyes

Introduction by Prof Margaret MacCurtain

Commemorating 100 years since the dedication of the Oratory of the Sacred Heart, Ireland’s miniature gem of Celtic Revival Art.

Large format paperback | 250pp illustrated | ISBN 9781848407534 | Release date 10 October 2019

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A treasure of Celtic Revival Art, the Oratory of the Sacred Heart could be called Ireland’s Sistine Chapel. The building was erected on the grounds of the Dominican Convent, Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) to commemorate the end of World War I in 1918. A statue of the Sacred Heart, linked to a village in Flanders, was donated to the parish of Kingstown to commemorate the many local Irishmen who had fought and died in the conflict.

Sister Concepta Lynch dedicated her life to decorating the walls of the Oratory, which she hand-painted from 1920 until 1936, when illness and infirmity forced her to stop. The design is magnificently rendered in the style of the Celtic Revival, using symbols from Early Irish Christian Art, including the Book of Kells. The stained glass windows were created by the famous Harry Clarke Studio of Dublin.

Divine Illumination tells the story of this masterpiece from its creation, to its neglect and, most recently, its restoration. But it also tells the story of Lily Lynch, the retiring daughter of a professional illuminator, who found fulfilment in enclosed convent life as Sr Concepta Lynch.