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15th Jun 2020
to 30th Apr 2021

Age Range
All ages

St Manchan's Shrine

In Offaly, St Manchan's shrine is deeply embedded in the local community, on display in Boher church and of international significance.

'A rich and dazzling Celtic bewilderment, a perpetual challenge to the eyes and a perpetual delight.' T.D. Kendrick (Archaeologia 86, 1936)

Saint Manchan’s shrine is one of the most remarkable survivals from Ireland’s medieval past, having been safely kept and venerated in the same locality since its creation in the early twelfth century. This masterpiece of medieval art is now proudly and reverently displayed in the rural parish church of Boher in County Offaly, not far from its original home at the ancient church site of Lemanaghan. St Manchan’s shrine is a gabled-reliquary, taking the shape of steeply pitched roof or tent, and is fitted with carrying rings, which enabled it to be carried in procession by two bearers using poles. It is not only the largest reliquary surviving from medieval Ireland but is also the only remaining example of its type. It enshrines what are believed to be the bones of its eponymous saint, St Manchan, whose death is recorded in AD 664.

This project involves close up photographs of the detailing of this shrine which is now encased in a high security glass display unit. The text will be written by archaeologist Griffin Murray and metalsmith/photographer Kevin O’Dwyer. This will provide a unique insight into the making of this artifact.

The preparation work will take place in 2020 and the publication in 2021.

Please note that the details of events listed above are provided by the relevant Local Authorities.

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