Kevin J. O'Dwyer
Saint Manchan's Shrine - The Work of Angels
Saint Manchan's Shrine, Ireland's finest 12th century reliquary was commissioned by Turlough O'Connor, High King of Ireland (1111-1151), for the monastery of Lemanaghan, and was produced in the workshops along the River Shannon under the suoervision of the Abbot of Clonmacnoise, Domnail O'Duffy. The gable shaped shrine was made of yew wood and covered in a bronze and enamelled surface decoration. The imagery incorporates insular Irish, Hiberno-Urnes and Romanesque Christian art styles and is a unique study of 300 years of Irish metalwork and Christian art history. T.D. Kendrick described the shrine as "a rich and dazzling Celtic bewilderment, a perpetual challenge to the eyes and a perpetual delight".
O'Dwyer's presentation explores the Shrines links to 8th and 9th century Irish metalwork, the cross cultural exchange between the Irish and the Norse communities that lead to the development of the unique Hiberno/Urnes style and the demise of the Irish Christian style, during the 12th century when the monasteries came under the rule of Rome