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Honan Chapel

University College Cork, T12 VH32

The Honan Chapel is internationally regarded as representing the best artwork of the Irish Arts & Crafts Movement (1894-1925). It is a project that owes its origins to the philanthropy of Isabella Honan who died in 1913 and left her estate to the founding of this commission.


The project fostered the revival of silver and textile craft working, once central to the Cork economy, and supported local firms such as the builders John Sisk & Son. Egan’s of Patrick Street manufactured the liturgical altar plate. The altar hangings, liturgical banners, and cushions were designed by the Dun Emer Guild associated with Susan and Elizabeth, The Yeats Sisters. The liturgical vestments were made by local seamstresses in the Egan workshop. Sir John Robert O’Connell, as Isabella Honan’s legal executor, was a catalyst for the commission. His collaboration with UCC’s President Sir Bertram Windle, between 1914-17,  contributed to the physical expansion of University College Cork and the revival of craft industry in Cork. The work of craftswomen is represented in the windows designed by An Túr Gloine (“The Glass Tower"). This was a cooperative for stained glass artists from 1903 to 1944, based in Dublin.


The studio, managed by Sarah Purser,  provided an alternative to commercial stained glass imported from England and Germany for Irish churches. Artists were trained  in every detail connected with the design and production of the glass, from the enamelling to cutting, leading, and kiln firing. The cooperative employed notable female artists: Evie Hone, Wilhelmina Geddes, Beatrice Elvery, Ethel Rhind, and Catherine O'Brien. In the Honan Chapel you can see examples of the work of Ethel Rhind, St. Carthage of Lismore, first on right of the main door, and Catherine O’Brien, St. John window, in the sanctuary facing the altar on the tower side of the Honan Chapel. 

Author:  James G. R. Cronin


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