Saint Manchan's Shrine

Saint Manchan's Shrine. Art and Devotion in Twelfth Century Ireland

Publication available for purchase ​ online

A masterpiece of medieval art, St Manchan’s Shrine is Ireland's largest surviving reliquary. A unique example of Irish monastic metalsmithing combining Irish, late Viking/Urnes and Romanesque Christian art styles. This cross fertilization of styles and cultures makes it a unique study from both archaeological and metalsmithing perspectives.

Archaeologist Griffin Murray and metalsmith/photographer Kevin O’Dwyer combined their expertise to create a high-quality full colour coffee table book that features O’Dwyer’s captivating and atmospheric photographs and Griffin Murray’s in-depth story telling of the history and folklore of the shrine. The publication features full and double-page image spreads, antiquarian drawings and descriptive metalsmithing close-ups. The text is presented in a series of essay’s that cover various topics including Saint Manchan and Lemanaghan, the art and craftsmanship of St Manchan’s Shrine, cultural cross fertilization – the Late Viking/Urnes style  - and the shrines relationship with the makers of The Cross of Cong. 

Saint Manchan's Shrine. Art and Devotion in Twelfth Century Ireland

In this monograph. mysteries have been solved; lacunas infilled. However, various contradictions and surprises are also revealed, through the unfolding story of several cultures merging to make something new, fresh, and dynamic, such as is found in this compact reliquary of the Hiberno-Norse style embedded in the Romanesque of the late medieval Christian empire, in Ireland.

For those of us who might never be able to visit the shrine in person, this splendid book is the next best thing, and we are delighted and grateful.

Jules McCue  - Tinteán Magazine

The largest reliquary surviving from medieval Ireland, one of the most remarkable features of St Manchan's Shrine, is the variety of techniques used in creating its ornamentation, including lost wax, fire-gilding, enameling, die forming and chasing, all of which are clearly explained by Kevin O'Dwyer, while Uto Hogerzeil contributes some lively visual reconstructions of the productions progress.

Kevin O'Dwyer is also a superb photographer. His images of the whole shrine and, more particularly, its detail, make this book stand out, causing the eye to notice things that it would not normally. O'Dwyer choses subjects that bring home the richness of the decoration, which stands out vividly against a black background. ..........

Irish Arts Review by Peter Harbison