The Honan Chapel

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The Honan Chapel stands just outside the official boundary of the UCC campus, but is effectively, part of the site. So I couldn’t help but notice it. I almost passed it by, but as I wasn’t in a particular hurry to get back to the train station I decided I might as well take a closer look. I’m glad I did. It was a little gem.

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It was only built in the early 20th Century,being consecrated on 5 November 1916. At first glance I could see it was a neo-Romanesque building, this doorway being very typical of the style

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but a closer look revealed Celtic features, such as these capitals

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The chapel is, in fact, a product of the Irish Arts and Crafts movement and is Hiberno-Romanesque, reflecting the style of early Christian churches in Ireland. It’s a product of the Celtic Twilight of Irish artists influenced by Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts and the Celtic traditions of their native land.

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Inside there is a magnificent mosaic floor depicting the “River of Life”, (the colours haven’t come out on my photos, unfortunately)

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All the “furniture and fittings” were beautifully crafted and full of detail

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But I was particularly taken by the superb stained glass. There are nineteen windows in the Honan Chapel. Eight of the windows were designed by An Túr Gloine (The Tower of Glass), the stained glass studio of the Irish artist Sarah Purser. The other eleven were designed by Harry Clarke, the artist responsible for the Eve of St Agnes window that’s displayed in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin  The Honan Chapel was his first major commission.

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Clarke’s work is exquisite. Very much influenced by the Art Nouveau, Symbolist and Arts and Crafts movement with finely drawn figures, minutely detailed images and luminous colours. Thee photos really can’t do them justice;they need to be seen “in the flesh” to be really appreciated.

UCC Cork

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After looking round the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, I decided to explore the UCC campus. The grounds are open to the public and there’s even a visitor centre where I was able to pick up a small booklet about the college and its buildings.

University College Cork (UCC) was established in 1845 as one of three Queen’s Colleges – at Cork, Galway and Belfast – to provide access to higher education in the Irish province of Munster. Today it’s part of the National University of Ireland (NUI).  Probably the most famous person associated with the College was George Boole, the inventor of Boolean logic, who was Professor of Mathematics between 1849 and 1864.

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The campus is located on the edge of a picturesque limestone bluff overlooking the River Lee associated with the local early Christian saint, Finbarr and UCC’s motto is ‘Where Finbarr Taught, let Munster Learn.’

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The limestone buildings of the Main Quadrangle were designed by the architectural partnership of Thomas Deane and Benjamin Woodward. A neo-Gothic complex as  his was considered the most suitable style for colleges at that time, being inspired by the great medieval colleges in England. 

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The Visitor Centre can be found here as well as the Stone Gallery which contains an exhibition called ‘Stories in Stone’ featuring a series of Ogham Stones which are inscribed with an ancient Celtic script. Written in a series of carved lines, the collection dates back as far as the 5th to 7th centuries AD.

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The Crawford Observatory  was opened in 1880 and named after William Horatio Crawford, a local brewer and merchant. it was restored and re-opened in 2006

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This modern building is the Áras na Mac Léinn  – the Student Centre.

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The President’s Garden, which lies between the east wing of he Quadrangle building and the Student Centre, was originally reserved for the exclusive use of the College President and his guests.

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Officially outside the college grounds, but adjacent to the Student Centre, is the Honan Chapel. But this building deserves a post of its own.

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Contemporary Ceramics at Chatsworth

The Dukes of Devonshire have long been collectors of ceramics and pottery. The current Duke has continued the tradition. and  there are a number of ceramic works on display in the public areas of Chatsworth.

Edmund du Waal’s A Sounding Linem a work comprising 52 porcelain vessels in 5 celadon glazes and 14 thrown porcelain vessels in 5 white glazes is installed in the fireplaces and high corbels of the Chapel Corridor.

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At first glance, especially when viewed during the Luminaire event, they all appeared the same off-white colour. But closer inspection during the daytime revealed subtle variations in shade. Like much of his work the pots have a Japanese, Zen-like quality.

These two abstract forms were also displayed in the Chapel corridor. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the artist.

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This large scale pot located on the landing at the topof the flight of stairs from the Painted Hall is Chinese Ladders by Felicity Aylieff . The form and design of the pot is inspired by the structure of bamboo scaffolding used by builders in China.

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In the State rooms, and elsewhere in the house, were a number of installations by the Australian artist, Pippin Drysdale. With interesting surface textures and vibrant colours her works are inspired by the landscapes of her native country.

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This stunning installation is fixed to the walls of the North Sketch gallery.

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Created by the artist Jacob van der Beugel, the work represents the DNA profiles of the the Duke and some members of his family. The Chatsworth website tells us that the:

Raised ceramic blocks represent the DNA strand of ‘Everyman’ in the central portrait, which is flanked by the personal DNA profiles of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, their son Lord Burlington and his wife, Lady Burlington.

DNA samples were taken from members of the Devonshire family and the results were translated onto ceramic panels, while aspects of each individual’s personality are captured on glazed pieces in their DNA sequence

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This is how it looked during the Luminaire event, lit up with candles.

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There are 659 warm, ochre coloured panels making up a large work, approximately 20m long x3m wide x4m high all along one of the walls of the long  narrow room.  The other wall is covered with mirrors which reflect the panels.

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Overall a stunning contemporary work of art.

Modern Art at Chatsworth

In the past the aristocracy acted as patrons of the arts, buying and commissioning works by contemporary artists and building large collections. The current Duke of Devonshire has continued this tradition. Walking through the gardens at Chatsworth we came across a number of modern works.

This couldn’t be by anyone else but Richard Long. The Cornwall Slate Line is imaginatively sited running parallel to the canal.

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There are several works by Elisabeth Frink. War Horse is appropriately sited in the stables courtyard.

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This is her Lying Down Horse

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Here’s a copy of one of her heads – I’ve seen a few other versions of this

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This is a bust of Elisabeth Frink, a tribute by fellow artist Angela Conner

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This Art Nouveau style gateway is in the hedge near the maze. I couldn’t find any information on it’s creator.

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This is unmistakeably by Barry Flanagan. The drummer – a version of which stands outside the entrance to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin.

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A site specific work by David Nash, made of charred wood – Forms that grow in the night.

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This is Dejeuner sur l’Herbe by the British sculptor, Allen Jones

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There’s modern art displayed in the public areas of the house too. ‘This is Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain’ by Damien Hirst which is currently on semi-permanent display in Chatsworth’s sseventeenth century chapel. At first glance it looked as if it was contemporary to the chapel itself. But closer inspection revealed subtleties that gave the game away,such as the wooden table the statue is standing on.

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This is a piece by Anthony Caro.

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Another work by Alan Jones - his life-size sculpture Carefree Man stands in front of Chinese Ladders by Felicity Aylieff . The form and design of this pot is inspired by the structure of bamboo scaffolding used by builders in China.

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The Lewis Glucksman Gallery

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There were plenty of interesting older style buildings in the centre of Cork, but nothing in the way of Modern architecture. However, I’d heard that there was an example of a modern building – an art gallery – on the University campus, a 20 or 30 or minute to the west of the town centre along the south branch of the River Lee. So after walking round the city centre I decided to set out and wander over for a look.

I wasn’t disappointed. It was worth the walk- indeed there was a lot to interest me on the University campus – a post or two to follow.

The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, stands on the river side, just inside the main entrance of the University. It’s named in honour of Dr Lewis Glucksman who the Gallery website as

a successful investment banker and renowned philanthropist

The architects were Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey of the Irish firm O’Donnell+Tuomey, which they established in 1988.

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Entrance is through the podium which is at street level. As the street is raised above the level of the river there’s a storey underneath which accommodates a restaurant.

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The base of the building is a concrete structure clad with limestone with galvanised steel windows. The gallery spaces are clad in timber (Angelim de Campagna, a sustainably sourced hardwood), which, according to the architects

is intended to be understood as a wooden vessel which resonates with its woodland site.

The timber clad section is supported on a concrete ‘table’ structure cantilevered from columns. The concrete was sandblasted to reveal reflective mica in the surface of the structure. There are galvanised steel bay windows projecting from the structure, allowing light to enter the galleries.

The architects tell us that

The intention is that the natural finish materials (sawn limestone, galvanised steel and untreated timber) should age and weather into the landscape.

Inside, the gallery spaces are accessed by wooden staircases

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With white walls and large windows, the gallery spaces are very bright and airy

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The curved structure and large projecting windows and positioning of internal walls has created some interesting spaces

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The building is set in a very pleasant green space with a large lawn at river level and is surrounded by mature trees.

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Amongst awards it has received it was the RIAI Best Public Building in Ireland 2005, the RIBA 2005  European category award winner and was shortlisted for the 2005 Stirling Prize.

I thought it was an exceptional building, that fulfilled it’s function well and looked beautiful, and which both complemented it’s surroundings and was enhanced by its setting.

Cork

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Last week I went over to Cork for a conference. As usual with my trips with work I try to find some time to look around and managed to spend an afternoon and an evening looking around the city.

It’s quite a small city and easy enough to get around to see the main sites on foot. The main city centre lies on an island between the north and south branches of the river Lee and in Shandon to the north of the Lee. The University campus to the west of the city centre is also worth a visit (worth it’s own post). I managed to see quite a lot in the short time I was there, but there was more to see. And there are places to visit in the vicinity, so Cork could be the base for a short break.

Here’s some of the photos I took around the city centre.

On the south branch of the Lee

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The same view later in he day

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The old Beamish Brewery

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Looking towards Finn Barr’s cathedral

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The Opera House

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The Crawford Art Gallery – formerly the Custom House. The wide street it stands on used to be a dock.

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An old Queen Anne style house opposite the entrance to the Crawford Gallery

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The English Market

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Monument to Rory Gallagher, the great blues guitarist born in Cork in the square named in his honour

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The Court House

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Rainbow over the City Hall

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Another shot of the city hall in the evening

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Holy Trinity Church

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Parnell Street

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