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Up to the early 1900s most of the stained glass windows in Ireland were imported from Germany and France. These were very pleasing works in light pastel shades with large pieces of painted glass and a minimal amount of lead. However, there is a sameness about these works as one travels through the country and visits different churches.

After the turn of the century there was an explosion of talent in Ireland in the design and manufacture of stained glass windows. An Tur Gloine (The Tower of Glass) was established by a group of artists such as A.E. Child, Sarah Purser, Micheal Healy, Evie Hone, Wilhelmia Geddes, Beatrice Elvery, Ethel Rhind and Catherine O'Brien in 1903; they produced fine works for almost 50 years. However, the most outstanding artist Ireland has produced was Harry Clarke (1890-1931). In his short lifetime he worked at a frenzied pace and gathered around him a group of highly qualified artists who could follow his unusual techniques.

New styles of stained glass called for very dark colors: purples, blues, greens and rubies. They also contained a large number of leads throughout as a part of the artwork. Great emphasis was placed on aciding and plating glass, and two or three layers of glass were quite common.

One of the most impressive examples of Irish stained glass can be found at St. Brendan's Cathedral in Loughrea, County Galway. This Cathedral is home to the greatest cross section of stained glass in Ireland. Among the artists whose work can be seen at St. Brendan's is Micheal Healy, who began his stained glass work in 1904 and completed his final commission in 1937. His West Transept windows depicting The Ascension and The Last Judgement are a joy to behold when the afternoon sun shines through the colored jewels in the windows.
Abbey projects - explosion - craftsman inspects restored artwork - click to view larger image Abbey projects - explosion - painted glass fired in plaster of paris tray - click to view larger image

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