Stained Glass Windows in
St. John’s Church
Stained glass is often referred to as the poor man’s Bible as it was used from the Early Middle Ages to illustrate scriptural stories and the lives of the saints to largely uneducated congregations. Interestingly, at least sixty-five fragments of glass, including some painted medieval pieces, were found during the excavations in Ardfert Cathedral in the 1990s. In more recent times, stained glass is viewed as a spectacular art form to enlighten, inspire, console and instruct those who look upon them.
|In 1854 the foundation stone of St. John's Church was laid on the site of a chapel dating back to 1780. The 'Chapel' faced in the east-west direction. Some artifacts of the 1780 chapel have survived - the Holy Water font (Mortuary Chapel), Our Lady of the Wayside statue (near front porch on the outside), and the gables of the 18th century building, which are contained in the transepts of the present church. The building was completed, to the design of J.J. McCarthy, in 1861 with the erection of the Great Sanctuary window. In 1870 the tower and spire were added. The height of the spire is 200 feet.|
|The Great Sanctuary Window|
|This window, which ranks amongst the finest of its style in Western Europe, was completed in 1861. It is the work of Michael O'Connor (1801-1867). There are fourteen principal panels in the lower portion: these contain the figures of Christ the King, St. John the Baptist and the Twelve Apostles. A feature of this portion is that each Apostle is not only named but assigned an identifying symbol unique to himself. the panels in the upper portion represent the Annunciation, nine Choirs of angels and the Holy Spirit.|
|In 1960 the church took its present form after a major 10 year renovation scheme. A thirty foot extension was added to the Nave: the internal walls were stripped of their plaster and revealed stone was pointed. The 1990's has seen a reordering of the sanctuary.|
|The Old Baptistry|
Over the entrance, on the inside, are two very interesting pieces of sculpture, (1) the higher of the two dates from the 13th century bearing the effigies of the two children said to be the twins of Thomas, 12th Earl of Desmond. (2) The aged Dean McEnnery (1824 - 54) hearing confessions of his parishioners during the famine.
The mosaic facing the entrance appropriately depicts the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan.
Western Transept (near Old Baptistry)
The windows, by Earley, depict the Transfiguration of Christ (1902) and the Adoration of the Magi. The Sculpture of the Crucifixion is from 1790.
The narrative window on the life of St. Brendan (Earley 1902) recalls the life and legends associated with him. The Medallions in the upper section contain representations of Ardfert Cathedral, St. Ita and Bishop Erc (his fosterer and educator respectively).
The Church of St. John the Baptist, Tralee is a 19th century Gothic-Revival Church. It places emphasis on height and pointed features for example the spire, pointed arces, lancet windows and the Baldacchino over the main altar. The body of the tower is local sandstone, and the octogonal spire is in limestone.
|The Stations of the Cross are oil paintings by the late Sean Keating R.H.A. The Second Station 'Jesus Carrying His Cross' is by Gabriel Hayes (1959) and the Twelfth Station 'The Crucified Christ' is from 1790.|
The High relief projecting from the back gable, over the door of the sacristy, depicts scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist flanked by statues of St. Brigid and St. Patrick with Christ the King occupying the elevated central position.
The organ, over the main door, was manufactured in Germany (1909), by Edward and George Stahlhut, and was re-assembled in St. John's. In May 1981, the organ was fully refurbished and restored to its former splendour by Kenneth Jones, the Wicklow based organ builder.