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UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute

Fondúireacht Mhíchíl Uí Chléirigh, UCD

Material Culture of Irish Mendicant Orders             

Principal Investigator: Dr John McCafferty (Director, UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute)

Team: Dr Malgorzata D’Aughton (UCC) and Dr Colmán Ó Clabaigh OSB (Glenstal Abbey), Raghnall Ó Floinn, National Museum of Ireland

Funding: Irish Research Council for Social Sciences and Humanities, UCD IVRLA

Since 2004 the UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute has conducted a pioneering project preparing an inventory of the material culture of Irish mendicant orders along with a history of the mendicant orders in late medieval Ireland.

The project involved a survey of altar plate in the possession of the Irish Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, Capuchins, Carmelites, the Poor Clares and the Dominican Nuns. Over 400 objects belonging to these orders, many of which were undocumented, have been recorded and photographed.

The objects date from the fifteenth to the early nineteenth century (pre-1829, the date of Catholic Emancipation). Types of objects discovered include silver chalices, silver patens, monstrances, crucifixes, processional crosses, ciboria, thuribles, sanctuary lamps, candlesticks, reliquaries, pewter chalices, pyxes, bells, paxes, pendant crosses, rosaries, seals, liturgical vestments, wooden statues and furniture. An exhibition of the finest Franciscan altar plate Franciscan Faith: Sacred Art in Ireland 1600-1750 is currently on display in the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks in Dublin and a catalogue will be published in 2010 (www.museum.ie).

Images of the  Collection are available on UCD Digital Library.

The project also involved an historic analysis of the mendicant orders in Ireland in the late medieval period to be published in Dr Ó Clabaigh’s monograph The friars in Ireland 1224-1540