Sister Mary’s illuminations


Síghle Bhreathnach-Lynch reveals Sr Mary Concepta’s design and decoration of the Oratory of the Sacred Heart in Dún Laoghaire

Behind a large two-storey shopping centre in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin is an unusual, brightly coloured capsule building which functions as an all-weather shell for a small oratory. The oratory was erected in 1919 and is dedicated to the young men of the borough who had died in the recent war, in thanksgiving for the peace that followed.

This small sanctuary, a place for prayer and quiet reflection, measures a mere 5.85 x 3.60m. The exterior features a simple pitched slate roof surmounted by a Celtic cross, recalling in part the Church of St Kevin at Glendalough in Wicklow. A painted inscription in Gaelic script above the entrance doorway proclaims its dedication to the Sacred Heart. Below the inscription, a humorous zoomorphic interlacing of serpentine figures, evocative of early Celtic design, hints at the decorative scheme of the interior.

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