“What the architect has created is an original work of art.”
(Lord Killanin, writing about Cill Éinde, 1950)
“A bhfuil cruthaithe ag an ailtire is saothar bunúil ealaíne é.”
(An Tiarna Chill Ainthín, agus é ag scríobh faoi Chill Éinde, 1950)
Nuair a rinneadh sagart pobail sa Spidéal den Athair Marcas Ó Conaire in 1897, chinn sé ar shéipéal nua a thógáil. Mhol Edward Martyn as Tulira go dtabharfaí an coimisiún do William A. Scott as Baile Átha Cliath. Ba ailtire anaithnid é sin an uair úd. Ach ina dhiaidh sin, dhear sé cuid mhaith foirgneamh breá. Mar cheann na hailtireachta ag Coláiste Ollscoile Bhaile Átha Cliath, ba é W.A. Scott a bhí freagrach as roinnt de na foirgnimh ba nuálaí in Éirinn le linn an chéad chuid den fhichiú haois. Ach ar an drochuair, is corpas beag go leor a d’fhág sé ina dhiaidh de bhrí go bhfuair sé bás in aois caoga bliain.
Is séipéal Rómhánúil í Cill Éinde, ach bhain Scott leas as smaointe Críostaí agus Meánaoiseacha chomh maith. Is é a scríobh Robert Elliot an staraí ealaíne: “Chuir an tUasal Scott san áireamh an cineál daoine a adhrann sa séipéal seo, a chomhaireann a bpaidríní agus a ghuíonn go simplí, seachas soilse bladhracha a shantú le lámhleabhair thiubha dheabhóideacha a léamh.
D’fhostaigh Scott Sarah Purser leis na fuinneoga de ghloine dhaite a dhearadh agus a dhéanamh. Is mósáic de ghloine dhaite é Turas na Croise, ar a dtugtar go teicniúil opus sectile, a dhear an duine cáiliúil Sarah Purser freisin.
Rinneadh obair athchóirithe in 1985 agus ligeadh tuilleadh solais isteach sa séipéal. Cuireadh dhá fhuinneog nua bhreise de ghloine dhaite leis an séipéal.
When Fr. Mark Conroy became parish priest of An Spidéal in 1897, he decided to build a new church. Edward Martyn of Tulira suggested that William A. Scott of Dublin be given the commission. He was, at that time, an unknown architect, but afterwards designed many other fine buildings. As head of architecture at University College Dublin, W.A. Scott was responsible for some of the more innovative buildings in Ireland during the early part of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, he left a relatively small canon of work as he died at the early age of fifty.
The general style of Cill Éinde is Irish Romanesque, but Scott also used early Christian and Medieval ideas in blending the whole building. Robert Elliot, the art historian, wrote of Cill Éinde: “Mr. Scott took into consideration the type of people who worship in this church, who tell beads and pray simply rather than desire garish lights to read bulky manuals of devotion.”
Sarah Purser’s Studios were engaged by Scott to design and execute much of the stained glass windows. The Stations of the Cross are a mosaic of painted glass, technically called opus sectile, also designed by the famous Miss Purser.
In 1985 restoration work was carried out. More light was allowed into the church. Two new stained glass windows by George Walshe were added.
Ardchrois an Spidéil (High Cross of Spiddal) – Ireland’s newest high cross,
designed by the renowned sculptor Imogen Stuart and executed by stone carver Philip O’Neill,
Archrois an Spidéil is a special commission for Cill Éinde, An Spidéal, that was dedicated and celebrated during the week 9 -15 September.
Imogen Stuart is an artist of the highest order and has designed and executed many works for churches in Ireland over the last half century and more. She has just been honoured by Aosdána with the title of Saoi for her work. While she more recently designed the ambo and tabernacle for the refurbished St. Mel’s Cathedral in Longford, many of her works enhance places of worship throughout the island of Ireland, e.g. The Main Door to Galway Cathedral and the statue of the Madonna and child above, The tabernacle and liturgical elements at the Shrine of Our Lady in Knock, the figure of Pope John Paul II at The Library at N.U.I. Maynooth, and indeed many more. The parish of An Spidéal is absolutely delighted to have an artist of such stature associated with Cill Éinde, the parish church of An Spidéal, and to which many people already come to visit because of its beauty and architectural and artistic significance. We expect that Ardchrois an Spidéil will add to, and fit in well, with the special atmosphere that Cill Éinde extends to visitors and those who come to worship.
Ardchrois an Spidéil is 2.6 metres high and is designed in the tradition of the Irish ‘penal’ crosses. It is executed in rose granite quarried in Clochmór, Baile na hAbhann. The figure of Christ on the cross is incised rather than in relief, both of which are traditional to the penal cross style. The figure of Christ is highlighted in gold-leaf, continuing the theme of the stations of the cross in the church from the Sarah Pursur studios, and enhancing the divinity of Christ crucified.
The week of dedication was designed to imprint Ardchrois an Spidéil on the minds and hearts of Pobal Chois Fharraige, and indeed the wider community of Galway and the Corrib. It is hoped that Cill Éinde will become a place of pilgrimage for people who have particularly heavy crosses to carry, where they can come to pray, and touch and venerate the cross of Christ as Christians like to do, for example, on Good Friday, and perhaps leave their worries, pains and suffering with us as we commit ourselves to prayerfully support them, and return home ‘lighter’.