Angels to take flight between Limerick city churches

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

The interior of the Franciscan Church on Henry Street with the pulpit to the left of frame
MOVING statues have made a return to Limerick - or at least they will have if the trust managing the former Franciscan Church on Henry Street succeeds with a planning application.

MOVING statues have made a return to Limerick - or at least they will have if the trust managing the former Franciscan Church on Henry Street succeeds with a planning application.

The Bonaventure Trust was set up to look after the property on behalf of the Diocese of Limerick when the church was left as a parting gift by the Franciscans. The order closed the church in 2008 citing a lack of vocations.

And the trust has now applied to Limerick City Council to remove two statues, a pulpit and a vestments chest from the Franciscans and relocate them in the former Jesuit Church of the Sacred Heart.

While the Jesuit order had also left its former city centre base, the church at the Crescent was reopened last year by a group of young priests attached to the Institute of Christ the King.

The marble statues are of angels, set on pedestals on either side of the tabernacle. Like the pulpit, also of marble, they are believed to date from the 1870s.

In a conservation report on behalf of the applicants, it is stated that the plans would have “a positive impact on the artefacts as they will be relocated to a new church with regular heating and in full-time use”.

Work on both the Franciscan and Jesuit churches as they stand today was supervised by 19th century architect William Corbett and the artefacts would accordingly not look out of place in their proposed new home, it is stated.

They “are not at present on display to the public. They are proposed to be relocated in the former Jesuit Church where they will be on view and in use,” conservation architects ACP state.

Part of the former Franciscan property is being used by the Bedford Row Family Project, a charity working with prisoners and their relatives while the church has been used in recent years as an exhibition space and for occasional performances.

The Franciscan order had wished that the building be put to community use and it is being promoted by some councillors as a new location for the City Library.