Hugh Crean's Address on the Day Clonfert Celebrated
The Historic Listing in World Monument Watch 2000
The following address was given by Dr. Hugh R. Crean on Tuesday 14th. September 1999 in Saint Brendan's Cathedral, Clonfert. There are four pages telling the story of this lovely little cathedral in Clonfert, County Galway.
Page one describes this lovely tiny Cathedral in Clonfert, County Galway.
Page two brings you on a trip around the grounds to the Bishop's Palace and the 1000 year old Yew Walk.
Page three gives a brief history of tSaint Brendan the Navigator, founder of this ancient monastic settlement in the 6th. century.
Page four describes the celebrations held in the Cathedral to mark this most historic of occassions - the cathedral's listing with World Monuments Watch 2000. All the links are below.
Dr. Crean spoke to a congregation in the tiny 12th century Cathedral, present to celebrate being included on the World Monuments Watch Millennium List of the World's 100 Most Endangered Sites.. Dr. Crean is Chairman of the Restoration Department at FIT (SUNY) in New York City, and lecturer at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.
"Today is a great day for Clonfert and for Ireland. This beautiflil, fragile twelfth century doorway, one of the most important monuments of Irish Romanesque art to survive has now come to the attention of the world.
The 12th. Century Hiberno-Romanesque
Doorway of St. Brendan's Cathedral
Today, the Cathedral of St. Brendan at Clonfert joins such renowed sites as Pompeii in Italy and the Pyramids in Bgypt on a list of world heritage monuments in danger. But unlike Pompeii and the Pyramids, it is not a ruin but a living monument that still shelters its community.
The world applauds its resusitation and recovery from the brink of extinction. Today represents a major step in that direction. This sacred doorway, which has long been treasured by the Clonfert community, is now recognized as a monument of global importance, its restoration of primary urgency.
St Brendan must be very pleased. St. Brendan came here about 560 A.D. From here he set out on the legendary voyages across the Atlantic. Hence the name St. Brendan, the Navigator. To Clonfert he returned, and is laid to rest here. This doorway was built to celebrate his 600 year anniversary.
The doorway faces West toward America and we who live across the ocean take comfort in its welcoming embrace.
Restoration is a healing and spiritual art. It takes objects that are wounded and damaged and gives them new life. This doorway of the Cathedral of Brendan at Clonfert predates all of Ireland's contemporary struggles and pain. It has deep roots and links to a longer Celtic tradition,
In its eight hundred year life, it has seen everything: invasion, devastation, war, famine and anguish. But it has survived; an object of great power and passionate beauty.
Today it is the doorway through which our commitment to making a better world heals our wounds and bolsters our spirits. For in restoring our doorway we renew ourselves."
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For those who have just joined me on this page why not go to the beginning of our travels and see some of the places in The Start of Our Journey through the West of Ireland.
My Place Amongst the Stones gives the history of my company name, Moytura - a celtic heritage going back thousands of years.
We journey to my own parish of Lackagh - a small village just 12 miles from Galway with a mighty big history. Learn all about the Battle of Knockdoe - one of Ireland's bloodiest of conflicts in the 16th century.
We then move on to take a quick jaunt around Galway City; and then to the heart of Connemara - with its wild and wonderful beauty.
From there we journey south into County Clare and see The Burren - a place that has lain undisturbed since the Ice-age and of immense botanical, ecological and archaeological importance.
Visit Ireland's finest early monastic heritage centre in Clonmacnoise, County Offaly; and to my favourite of all the early Christian Church locations - Clonfert, South County Galway, with its beautiful tiny 12th century Cathedral of Saint Brendan. Come with me around the grounds and see the Bishop's Palace and the 1000 year old Yew Walk.
While on the Clonfert pages, you can learn a potted history of Saint Brendan the Navigator, possibly the first European to set foot in North America in the 6th. century. And join me in the celebrations when this tiny cathedral was listed in the World Monuments Watch 2000 most endangered monuments.
Come with me on my 'Famine Journey' which starts in Westport, and moves to Sligo, my Dad's County and the departure port for many of the 'Coffin Ships'. This part of my journey ends in Grosse-Île on a tiny island east of Quebec City.
On this page you will learn some of the history of our Famine Refugees and find the final resting place of over 6,000 of my country folk who died within sight of their first freedom in over 300 years. This is where many of the Irish roots in North America started.
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