Ardchrois an Spidéil is 8.5 ft (2.6 metres) high and weights approx 700Kgs (3/4 tonne). It is designed in the tradition of the Irish ‘penal’ crosses and is executed in rose granite quarried in Clochmór, Baile na hAbhann. The figure of Christ on the cross is incised rather than in relief, both of which are traditional to the penal cross style. The figure of Christ is highlighted in gold-leaf, continuing the theme of the stations of the cross in the church from the Sarah Pursur studios, and enhancing the divinity of Christ crucified.
The week of dedication is designed to imprint Ardchrois an Spidéil on the minds and hearts of Pobal Chois Fharraige, and indeed the wider community of Galway and the Corrib. It is hoped that Cill Éinde will become a place of pilgrimage for people who have particularly heavy crosses to carry, where they can come to pray, and touch and venerate the cross of Christ as Christians like to do, for example, on Good Friday, and leave their worries, pains and suffering with us as we commit ourselves to prayerfully support them, and return home ‘lighter’.
The week of dedication (9-15 Sept) features some highly acclaimed speakers, such as Dr. Salvador Ryan (St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth), the very acclaimed archaeologist Dr. Peter Harbison (Trinity College, Dublin), An tOllamh Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh (NUI Galway), Ms Elber Twomey, Bishop Matin Drennan, and the former parish priest of An Spidéal, Bishop Brendan Kelly of Achonry, and Brenda Drumm of the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference. The week of dedication promises to be a great (and hugely important) occasion for Paróiste an Spidéil, for pobal Chois Fharraige, and indeed for the dioceses of Galway and Tuam west of Galway.
About the Designer
Imogen Stuart is an artist of the highest order and has designed and executed many works for churches in Ireland over the last half century and more. She is to be honoured next week by Aosdána with the title of Saoi by Úachtaráín na hÉireann. While she more recently designed the ambo and tabernacle for the refurbishment of St. Mel’s Cathedral in Longford following the fire of Christmas Eve some years back, many of her creations enhance places of worship throughout the island of Ireland, e.g. The Main Door to Galway Cathedral and the statue of the Madonna and child above, The tabernacle and liturgical elements at the Shrine Chapel at Knock, the figure of Pope John Paul II at The Library at N.U.I Maynooth, and indeed many more, too many to be mentioned. The parish of An Spidéal is absolutely delighted to have an artist of such stature associated with Cill Éinde, the parish church of An Spidéal, and to which many people already come to visit because of its beauty and architectural and artistic significance. We expect that Ardchrois an Spidéil will add to, and fit in well, with the special atmosphere that Cill Éinde extends to visitors and those who come to worship.