Figures of Mystery

St Paul’s in Cahir, County Tipperary was built c.1816-18 to a design by John Nash, one of only two churches from this architect in Ireland. Commissioned by Richard Butler around the time he was created first Earl of Glengall, the building cost £2,307 and is in the early Gothic Revival style with a plasterwork vaulted ceiling and the original pine box pews. On either side of the west front entrance are these carved heads, presumably representing Irish historic characters (note the shamrock on the breast of the crowned figure below). Might anyone know who they are meant to be?


4 comments on “Figures of Mystery

  1. rowingguy says:

    According to a leaflet I picked up at the church last week: “The door-lapel terminates in a carved head on either side – the left hand side, St. Patrick, the national patron, with shamrock on his collar; the right side, St. Paul, patron of the church building.”

  2. Thanks, that’s most helpful (there were no leaflets visible on the day of my visit).

  3. St. Paul, the patron-saint of my home-town… Beautiful carvings!

  4. […] have been designed by John Nash (who was also responsible for the adjacent Church of St Paul, see Figures of Mystery « The Irish Aesthete), the neo-Gothic building is constructed of cut limestone with a three-storey teachers’ […]

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