Thursday, September 23, 2010

Edward Cardinal McCabe: Archbishop of Dublin: 1816-1885

Edward McCabe was born in Dublin 14 February 1816. He was educated at Father Doyle's school, Arran Quay, entered the seminary at Maynooth in 1833, and was ordained 24 June 1839. After serving successive curacies in Clontarf and the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin, in 1856 McCabe was made parish priest of St. Nicholas Without in Dublin (Yes, the parish name is actually 'St. Nicholas Without' because it was outside the walls of Dublin City). Transferred to Kingstown in 1865 he served four years in a parish, eventually becoming vicar general. In 1877, suffering ill health, Cardinal Cullen called on McCabe to assist him. In 1878 Dr. McCabe was consecrated titular Bishop of Gadara, and upon the death of Cardinal Cullen in 1879, he became Archbishop of Dublin. He was 'given the red hat' (i.e. made a Cardinal) in 1882.

Edward Cardinal McCabe, like his predecessor Cullen, distrusted popular movements and in his public speeches often railed against rebels and agitation, pronouncing his support for the government and rule of law. Nationalist newspapers branded him a 'Castle Bishop', making reference to the British seat of rule at Dublin Castle, and marked him as an enemy of his own Irish people. His life was threatened and for a time he was under police protection. Cardinal McCabe died at his home in Dun Laoghaire 11 February 1885, three days before his 69th birthday.

The tomb which contains the mortal remains of the Cardinal is embellished with symbols, both Celtic and Christian. There are 8 angels on the mausoleum: 4 on top of the sarcophagus, (two at his head and two at his feet), and 4 on the roof of the mausoleum. On the floor there is an eagle emblem bearing the name Johannes, a symbol associated with the biblical evangelist John the Baptist. The two bird heads may be the Celtic symbols for geese which are used in Christian art as markers of singularity of thought. The double dragon heads on the outer wall may be emblematic of the reconciliation of the body and soul on Judgement day.

*Click on photographs to view larger version
Reference for biographical information: MacThomáis, Shane. Glasnevin Ireland's Necropolis
All Photographs ©Copyright J. Geraghty-Gorman aka irisheyesjg. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Moved by an angel

A few yards inside the gate to Mount Jerome Cemetery, the main roadway takes you past many large and beautiful old monuments. The road is such that you stand slightly below ground level and are separated from the monuments by a hedge of grasses, bushes, and flowers. As I was walking along the road I saw this angel out of the corner of my eye on the right hand side. I walked back and climbed over and around several monuments to get to her. Her right arm is broken off, as is the top of her left wing. There is something so wistful and haunting about her countenance that I found it difficult to walk away from her. It is as though she is a young woman frozen in time.

All Photographs ©Copyright J. Geraghty-Gorman 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Decay & Decrepitude in the heart of Dublin: Mt. Jerome Cemetery

With its broken and disintegrating stones, and moss and lichen covered paths, the Victorian period cemetery of Mount Jerome in Harold's Cross, Dublin, Ireland feels like a place of loss. It serves as a stark reminder of the fact that all things pass away, even stone.

I spent just over seven hours in this cemetery on an early August day marked by very odd weather. In the morning (I arrived at 8:30 am) it was very cold, with strong gusting winds. At mid morning it was very wet, with rain lashing down for about thirty minutes. By the end of the afternoon it was very warm with bright crisp blue skies. Many sections of the cemetery have an autumnal feel to them because the ground is covered with dead leaves. It is as though summer has passed them by.

Opened in 1836 by Sir Robert Shaw of Bushy Park, Mount Jerome was the first privately owned cemetery in Ireland. Shaw established the General Cemetery Company of Dublin by an Act of Parliament in 1834. The newly formed company initially planned to open its cemetery in a section of Phoenix Park; however, this application was turned down by the authorities. Undeterred, the company bought the lands and house of Mount Jerome in Harold's Cross from the Earl of Meath, John Chambre, on 23 January 1836. Thus, the General Cemetery Company of Dublin became popularly known as Mount Jerome Cemetery.

Over 250,000 people of all faiths have been interred here over the last 170 years. Still in use, one is made aware of a funeral procession entering the grounds by an undertaker who pulls a thick rope to toll a loud and lonely sounding large brass bell which hangs near the front gate.

All materials ©Copyright J. Geraghty-Gorman 2010
(*Click on photos to open larger version)
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