Every week we shine a light on a different object from our collections that you may not have seen before. This week we have a seventeenth-century wooden statue of Our Lady with the infant Jesus, known as Our Lady of Galway or Our Lady of the Rosary, which was donated to the Museum by the Dominican Sisters, Galway in 2016.
The statue, which is carved from oak in the baroque style is believed to be of Italian origin – Our Lady is dressed in the traditional blue and white robes and holds the infant in her left arm, with three heads of angels or cherubs at her feet. In later years the statue was displayed with a crown, dated to 1922, on Our Lady’s head and a set of nineteenth-century rosary beads in the right hand. A similar statue is located in the Dominican St Mary’s Church, Claddagh.
The Dominican Sisters established a community in Galway in 1644, residing originally at New Tower Street, now St. Augustine Street. After fleeing Galway during the Cromwellian occupation of 1651/2, Sisters Mary Lynch and Julian Nolan returned from exile in Spain in 1686 and re-established a convent at the Slate Nunnery, Kirwan’s Lane, where Busker Browne’s is now. The statue, which has been recently conserved, was originally used in the Slate Nunnery. It survived a fire in the Nunnery in 1842 with just minor damage, and in 1845 it was moved to the Convent at Taylors Hill.
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