Stained glass treasures saved

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The magnificent three light and tracery stained glass window in the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in Keadue is being taken out for conservation and restoration by the Abbey Stained Glass Studios of Dublin.

The magnificent three light and tracery stained glass window in the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in Keadue is being taken out for conservation and restoration by the Abbey Stained Glass Studios of Dublin.

This stained glass window was designed and manufactured by the Earley Studios in Dublin circa 1935 and its subject matter includes the Holy Spirit, Our Lady, the Annunciation, the Visitation, St Mel and St Brigid. The circular traceries above depict St Joachim, St Joseph and Our Lady .

Fr Cathal Faughnan PP became aware of the poor state of the Sanctuary stained glass window in recent years and he invited Ken Ryan of Abbey Stained Glass Studios to prepare a report on its condition. The report revealed the window had become badly buckled over the 75 years since it was fitted and was in danger due to its weakened structure.

The buckling is caused as the darker colours of stained glass attract more heat from the sun than the lighter colours and when the holding lead gets warm it becomes pliable. Every day heat is generated the window sags further and becomes more buckled and eventually the individual multicoloured antique glasses begin to crack.

William Malone and his team of craftsmen from Abbey Stained Glass Studios have now taken out the two outer windows and the two circular tracery shapes above and they have now been taken to Dublin.

Fr Faughnan did not want the full window removed at one time as there are quite a number of weddings booked over the summer months and so at all times part of the stained glass window will remain in situ in Keadue to keep a prayerful atmosphere in the Church.

In the Abbey Studios, under the constant supervision of Ken Ryan and William Malone, the old buckled perished lead will be removed and then each individual piece of artist painted coloured antique glass will be cleaned inside and outside thus removing eighty years of grime.

The panels of stained glass will be completely releaded and soldered both sides before being cemented to make them waterproof.

When the outer windows are refitted in Keadue then the central window will be removed for its conservation.

Mr Ryan described this Altar window as being part of Ireland’s National Heritage and an artistic treasure in traditional style stained glass.

When the painstaking conservation work is complete the stained glass will sparkle again as it did three quarters of a century ago when it was first installed and will give pleasure to the present and future congregations in Keadue.