Monday, December 16, 2019

Our Lady of Good Counsel Window, Trim

The rose window at the south end of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Trim, is being illuminated during Advent and Christmas this year, 2019, making it visible from outside after dark. This window, installed in 1904 just after the church was officially opened, was never fully visible from the inside because of the organ. The parish priest of the time, Fr Michael Woods, and the architect, William Byrne, asked that only the top portion of the window contain stained glass since the rest would be obscured by the organ.

The subject of the window was Our Lady of Good Counsel, a popular devotion at that time as Pope Leo XIII had added that invocation to the litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary on 22 April 1903. The details of this window were being discussed in correspondence between Fr. Woods and Hardman and Co of Birmingham, who had already provided the sanctuary window in the church, from December 1903 and the window was ordered on 27 April 1904. 

While Fr Woods saved money by not including figurative stained glass in the lower part of the window he was anxious that the visible portion be of “very best and richest glass you can make”. He wrote to Hardman “It will occupy the most prominent part of the Church and will be in full view of people as they leave the Church. As the sun will be shining almost the whole day – the window facing due south, the colours will require to be deep and rich.”

The window has the Our Lady of Good Counsel image, Mary and the child Jesus, in the centre surrounded by the legend, “Mater boni consilii ora pro nobis”(Our Lady of Good Counsel, Pray for us). Five angels play different musical instruments in panels surrounding the centre. There are two angels in panels beneath this with thuribles paying homage to Our Lady and the tops of the three lights have foliage down to where the curved portion meets the straight vertical sides.

The window was erected in October 1904 at a cost £162. A donor contributed £130 stating that the price demanded by Hardman was excessive and Fr Woods paid the balance.

It seems that when the organ was installed some portions of the window without stained glass were visible and when Hardman’s fixer was installing the St. Bridget window in the church in 1914 stained glass was “introduced into West window to hide portions exposed by organ”.  This stained glass seems to consist of random pieces which don’t fit into the general scheme.

A photograph from the National Library of Ireland (above) shows the organ and the visible sections of the window. However a new organ, by Moser of Germany, installed in 1982 hid almost all the original window from the inside.

Lighting the window from inside is a great idea, allowing the window to be seen as Father Woods, who is buried at the side of the church, wished it to be seen.

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