Harry Clarke's Stained Glass in Dingle

Harry Clarke Window - The Agony in the Garden

The Dingle Peninsula in Ireland's south west corner is a magical place. Everyone knows that. But apart from the well-known sites like Slea Head, Gallarus Oratory, the Blasket Island, bee hive huts, and Mount Brandon there are hidden jewels often undiscovered by the average traveler.

One such place is Chapel of the Sacred Heart located in the center of town in a Gothic style building next to St. Mary's Church. The building was formerly a convent for the Presentation Sisters. It is now part of the in the Díseart of Irish Spirituality and Culture, a place where students of Irish culture and spirituality can learn, grow, study and share.

The chapel is unique because it houses twelve lancet (or six two-glass) stained glass windows by the renowned Irish artist, Harry Clarke. In 1929, the Irish Statesman published an article by Irish Nationalist and mystical writer George Russell (aka AE).  In the article, Russell stated:

Harry Clarke is one of the strangest geniuses of his time ... He might have incarnated from the dark side of the moon.

So many churches in Ireland will claim one Harry Clarke window as an element to attract visitors. (And viewing one window IS worth a visit anywhere). But to have six sets all together in one spot is a feast for both eyes and spirit.

Harry Clarke Window - Gift of the Magi
The windows in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart depict six scenes from the life of Christ - Visit of the Magi, Baptism by John the Baptist, Suffer the Little Children, Sermon on the Mount, Agony in the Garden, and Christ's Appearance to Mary Magdalene.

Visitors can stop in the Visitor Centre's office at St. Mary's Chapel and ask for a guided tour. A young woman conducted a personal tour from me explaining that this was once a convent and the chapel was solely for the nuns. The sisters were the only beneficiaries of this magnificent art except for on rare occasions.

Harry Clarke Window - Let the Little Children Come to Me

A tour takes about and hour, and there are beautiful walled gardens as well as a hidden tunnel that can be explored with a guide. If you're in Dingle, ask about the Clarke windows. Anyone can direct you to St. Mary's Catholic Church. The former convent / An Diseart Visitor Centre is next door.

Calling ahead would be prudent to insure someone will be there to guide a tour.  For more complete information, contact the Díseart Institute of Irish Spirituality and Culture.