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Serendipity and the story of the O'Malley Clan | by Frank Fullard
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Serendipity and the story of the O'Malley Clan

I am fascinated by stained glass and am currently involved in taking pictures of interesting pieces I happen to come across (most of them in churches). I am doing this for no reason other than that I think some are remarkable pieces of art and I like them!


I had been told that the Church at Kilmilkin, near Maam in Connemara, had “an interesting stained glass window” and assumed it must have been by Harry Clarke, Ireland's best known stained glass artist. I was passing by on Easter Monday and called in to see what was there. In a real case of serendipity I discovered that the piece involved is by none other than Evie Hone (1894-1955), a Dublin born painter and stained glass artist of international repute. Her best known piece is possibly The East Window in Eton College Chapel in England.


The Kilmilkin porch window shows St. Brendan the Navigator (said to have discovered America long before Columbus) with a woman and a small child. The window commemorates the O’Malley clan. This clan had been decimated by foreign invaders and the only members remaining were the Chief’s wife and her very sickly young son who was so ill that he was not thought likely to live, thus heralding the possible demise of the O’Malley clan. The Chieftainess met a holy man who told her to take the child to Inishglora, an island off the Erris coast of Mayo, where St Brendan then lived in a monastic settlement. The Saint immersed the child in a Holy Well on the island and he was immediately cured. He grew up to lead the O’Malley’s on land and on sea and saved the clan from extinction.


An interesting piece of art celebrating an equally interesting piece of Irish folklore!


Please respect the fact that this image is my copywrite.

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Taken on April 25, 2011