ST SAVIOURS DOMINICAN CHURCH GLENTWORTH STREET IN LIMERICK APRIL 2022
This year I booked a week at Perys Hotel which is next door to the priory attached to the Church.
This church was rescued from closure by nuns from Tennessee in the USA. Back in 2018 I was also based in Perys Hotel and on the first morning I saw three nuns leaving the priory to and it really surprised to see how young they were.
Some years ago the Dominican Friars in Ireland announced they had embarked on a process of reorganising its commitments in Ireland because of falling numbers and would be withdrawing from Limerick. As a result of their decision St Saviour’s Church, Glentworth Street, which has an 800-year association with Limerick, was due to close but thanks to the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia it will remain operational as a church.
On the 4th. of July 2016 the last Mass held by the Dominican Order took place. Soon after the Limerick Diocese took over the running of religious services with a Mass at 1pm each day while the nuns moved into the building later in the summer of 2016.
The present day church in Glentworth Street was built in 1815/6 when the Dominicans moved from Fish Lane under the leadership of Fr Joseph Harrigan. Edward Henry, the Earl of Limerick donated the land to the Dominicans. The original church here was a plain church and it gave the impression of Gothic architecture. The church was designed by the Pain (sometimes spelt as Payne) brothers to replace the penal chapel in Fish Lane.
The foundation stone of the church was laid on 27 March 1815 in the presence of Dr Tuohy, Bishop of Limerick and the Father Provincial of the Dominicans, Patrick Gibbons. The architect John Wallace renovated the present church in 1861/4. A clerestory was added raising the height of the church by 20 feet. The church is dedicated to the Most Holy Saviour Transfigured. The priory next door to the church in Glentworth St was rebuilt in 1943.
The stained glass windows are all of a similar nature in the left aisle. However the stained glass windows in the right aisle show different religious figures. They are (from the back) two Dominicans saints, St Thomas Aquinas on the left and St Albert on the right. This window is dedicated to the memory of Michael and Margaret Ryan. The next stained glass window depicts St Mary Magdalene in the left panel and St Luke the evangelist in the right panel. The next stained glass window is again divided into two panels, which depict St Catherine of Sienna on the left and St Dominic on the right. The next window shows St William and St Margaret. The stained glass window at the top of the right aisle depicts the Virgin Mary and St Joseph.
There is also a stained glass window in the oratory that depicts a number of different scenes. These scenes begin with the execution of Bishop O’Brien and continue to depict a number of the major events that happened in the Limerick region since O’Brien’s execution in 1651. The stained glass window includes the following images, the coat of arms of Limerick in the Dominicans’ crest, the persecution of Roman Catholics by the ruling English, the boat of emigration, agriculture, Ardnacrusha power station, Ireland’s entry into the EEC and the Papal Visit of 1979.
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