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New Hibernia Review 9.3 (2005) 122
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Our survey of Irish stained glasses on the covers of New Hibernia Review's ninth volume turns here to the work of the Abbey Stained Glass Studios of Kilmainham, Dublin, with a detail of a 2003 window that shows Ireland's most iconic figure, St. Patrick, in ragged dress. The artist is Kevin Kelly, who executed this work under commission from Fr. Liam Kelly, parish priest at Parteen, County Clare (near Limerick City). Fr. Kelly asked that the figure of St Patrick be shown not in his bishop's robes and mitre but, rather, as a young man. In response, the Abbey artists created this portrait of the future saint as a shepherd tending his flock on a mountainside; the full window includes a charming view of lambs gathered at his feet. The narrow window at the entrance of the Parteen church measures 72" x 18".
Abbey Stained Glass Studios was founded by Frank Ryan in 1944, whose uncle, Tom, had begun the business as the Dublin Glass and Paint Company in Abbey Street during the 1920s. The studio's current manager, Ken Ryan, is thus a third-generation glass specialist. In addition to creating original works for churches and other buildings in Ireland, Britain, and elsewhere, the Abbey Studios has undertaken numerous important restorations of historic stained glasses, especially those by Harry Clarke. The Abbey Studios was profiled the Winter, 1999, issue of Stained Glass magazine, and also in Trade Names: Traditional Shopkeepers of Dublin by Rose Doyle (2004).
Kevin Kelly (b. 1925) is the senior member of Abbey's staff of twenty artists and artisans. Trained at the National College of Art and Design, Kelly has worked at the Abbey Studio for more than fifty years; in addition to numerous windows, his Nativity scenes have been selected for the 1996 Christmas stamps issued by An Post, and for UNICEF Christmas cards. We thank the artist and Ken Ryan, managing director of the Abbey Stained Glass Studios, for kind permission to reproduce this image for the readers of New Hibernia Review.