In keeping with the rich legacy in Ireland of stained glass, St. Kieran’s College has fine examples of the art designed by Harry Clarke. These windows were executed by his Studios and can be admired in the College Chapel.
Over the years and in keeping with best practice in relation to the upkeep of stained glass, in the avoidance of unnecessary work, the College Authorities did not worry unduly about the condition of the stained glass windows and their maintenance. However in 2005, the College President became concerned about the impact of the protective storm glazing which had been installed many years previously on the chapel windows. As a result two specialist firms were engaged to investigate fully, survey and report on the condition of the stained glass.
The conservation project was initiated in July, 2006 and was concluded in July 2008. The confirmation of an initial Conservation Grant of €10,000 from the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government via Kilkenny County Council, in June 2007 helped to kick-start the actual work itself of conservation. The company, which guaranteed that they followed stated accepted best practice and which detailed the methodology they employed, were commissioned to carry out 3/5 of the work required.
The recommendations made were followed to the letter, with respect for the existing fabric and with a huge emphasis on reconstruction rather than re-creation.
In the final report from the Conservation Architect, the College President was greatly relieved and delighted to read that the works agreed, which excluded the outer lancet windows in the Sanctuary, were completed to a high standard. As a result the beautiful stained glass windows continue in their special role in illuminating the sacred space that is the College Chapel.