Wednesday, February 15, 2017

ONE of Carlow’s secret historic treasures is at risk of being lost.

An ornate stained-glass window of historic significance at the old church in the grounds of St Dympna’s Hospital has worryingly begun to show signs of deterioration.

Paul Maguire standing near the stained glass window inside St Dympna’s Church at County Carlow Military Museum Photo: Thomas Nolan Photography.

Renowned German sculptor Professor August Weckbecker crafted the window in the mid-1920s.

A concerned member of the public contacted The Nationalist believing there was a risk of the window falling in and smashing to pieces. The lead in the panes have begun to soften, threatening the window’s stability.

The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “The Carlow people should know we have this treasure on our doorstep but it’s at risk of being lost.”

The church is the property of the HSE and it’s understood that maintenance staff carried out an assessment of the windows before Christmas.

The church is the current home to the Carlow Military Museum. Museum curator Paul Maguire said the problem is two-fold: 1) with the softening lead causing the panes to “belly out”, and 2)

“the steel frame is also corroding and that is causing a problem to the brick work … the window is showing its age.”

There are a number of other smaller windows at the church that are suffering similar issues.

Professor Weckbecker was known to have received commissions from King Alfonso of Spain, King Ludwig of Bavaria, Pope Benedict XV and Pope Pius XI.

In 1925, the professor came to Carlow after he was commissioned by Graiguecullen parish priest Fr Michael Bolger to create a headstone for Fr Hugh Cullen, after whom Graiguecullen is named.

During this time, he also crafted the window at the church.

A HSE spokesperson said the HSE was “liaising with County Carlow Military Museum regarding maintenance and refurbishment options for the building in question”.

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By Michael Tracey
Contact Newsdesk: +353 59 9170100

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