Prayer explores the dominant features of religious life during the Middle Ages in Ireland. It focuses, in particular, on the fundamental changes that took place in the organisational structure of the Church and the introduction of new monastic orders. Many practices of the older Church tradition survived, however, especially in areas outside English control, and this is strongly reflected in the important collection of shrines and reliquaries on display.

The exhibition features most of the surviving medieval Irish shrines and reliquaries, most of which are associated with Irish saints. These include a number of book shrines: the Domhnach Airgid, the Cathach, the Miosach and the Stowe Missal; and bell shrines: St Senan’s Bell and the Corp Naomh, as well as the shrine of St Patrick’s Tooth and the Mias Tighearnáin. The latter is a dish-shaped reliquary, perhaps made to hold a relic of St John the Baptist. Also on display are wooden statues from Fethard, Co. Tipperary, and Askeaton, Co. Limerick, and a magnificent 15th-Century embroidered cope from Waterford.

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In this Exhibition
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