St. Canice's Cathedral & Round Tower

The Cathedral Church of St Canice,
The Close, Coach Rd,
Kilkenny City, Ireland.

Phone : +353 (0)56 7764971

Mobile number: +353 (0)85 2527787

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Windows, Sanctuary Floor and Tombstone Carvings


rose_window_east.jpgThe three sets of triple windows at the East end are delightfully simple and effective. Imagine what they would have been like with the exuberant brilliance of stained glass from the 14th century high point of that art. The side windows are round-headed. This is unusual, since the central feature of the then new Gothic style was pointed heads, and this would have been “de rigueur”at this focus of the new building. Some have suggested that this is evidence that part of the building is somehow earlier, pre-Norman. The explanation is practical, if the heads of the side windows were pointed, the ceiling would have forced them to start much lower down, upsetting the overall proportions of the windows.

Stained glass windows

Details on the following link to Kilkenny Cathedral with images and descriptions of 24 windows

Sanctuary Floor

Both the Sanctuary and parish chapel (off the North transept)the_sanctuary_floor.jpg are denoted by the unique marble floors, which by their style and content represent the four provinces that constitute the island of Ireland. Thus representing (in alphabetical order):

Connaught – the green marble of Connemara
Leinster – the black marble of Kilkenny
Munster – the grey marble of Cork
Ulster – the red marble of Tyrone.

Their positioning in the Sanctuary area is symbolic of the reconciliation between the traditions which are the Christian Church in Ireland. The floors were the work of the architect Richard Langrishe.

Tombstone Carvings

Among the many tombs in the cathedral there are four particularly interesting ones from around 1600. The symbols of the passion were a common theme in those days, but one here includes a cock perched on a pot. According to a medieval legend, the_cock_on_the_pot_slab.jpgon the day of the Crucifixion, a cock being cooked for Judas Iscariot’s dinner rose out of the pot and crowed. Realising that this foretold Christ's Resurrection, Judas returned the thirty pieces of silver and hanged himself. Nearby there are three craftsmens' slabs, bearing the symbols of their tools and trades – carpenter, weaver and cobbler. The monuments were generally overturned and defaced by Cromwell's soldiers. They were re-erected in the 19th century, but not in their original positions. In some cases unrelated orphan top and side panels have been combined.

bishop_john_kearney.jpgThe tomb of Bishop John Kearney at the west end wall of the Cathedral was recently discovered to have a link to the Obama family. John was consecrated as Bishop on 2nd February 1806 and he died while still serving as Bishop on 22nd May 1813. The Bishop still has direct ancestry living in the parish today.

To find out more information on Windows, Sanctuary Floor and Tombstone Carvings, contact St. Canice's Cathedral & Round Tower