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.

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5 thoughts on “The Honan Chapel

  1. Pingback: The Crawford Gallery Cork | Down by the Dougie

  2. I was lucky enough to spend a great deal of time in a church as a child which had two stained glass windows and a mural by Clarke. I didn’t realise they were his at the time, of course, but I found the colours and style immensely absorbing. They got me through many a long sermon.

    To my shame, I haven’t been to the Honan chapel. I’m enjoying your sojourn in Cork thus far and hope to follow in your footsteps as soon as time and circumstances permit!

    • I was really pleased to find these windows in this little church, especially as I almost didn’t go inside. I really like his work and after this trip to Cork read up on it only to discover there are a couple of windows by him in a church only a few miles from here. I’ll have to find some time to visit to take a look at them.

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