A woman clothed in the sun!

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Where: Donegal, Ireland

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When: 01 January 1956

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As 1954 was designated a "Marian Year" by Pope Pius XII there was a rush to erect shrines/grottoes/statues in each parish in Ireland. This one, probably somewhere in Donegal from the lens of Mr. Tynan is probably one of many in the county. It does not appear to be moving as some at the other end of the country were alleged to have done ;-)

The general consensus is that this may not be a statue, but a real female woman (a scarcity at that time in Donegal :) ) partaking in a temporary tableau vivant to mark the opening of an actual Marian grotto and statue nearby. According to our intrepid Flickroonies, this Tynan image was captured relatively close to the centre of Glenties in Donegal….

Photographers: Denis Tynan 1923 - 2010

Collection: Tynan Photographic Collection

Date: 1956

NLI Ref: NPA TYN1321

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie


Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 18548
tynanphotographiccollection nationallibraryofireland ireland denistynan donegal grotto statue marianyear popepiusxii ulster glenties bookofrevelations tableauvivant tableau display performance livingstatue humanstatue movingstatue

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    • 12/Feb/2019 08:52:33

    I think this Mary may actually be moving as she seems to be part of the tableau at the opening of the actual grotto.

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    • 12/Feb/2019 09:08:55

    I think it might have been this grotto (Streetview) in the Glenties.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 12/Feb/2019 09:22:08

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet Two of the most unlikely statues moved in Cork recently! Oliver Cromwell and King Billy moved to Clare! There's movement for you!

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    • 12/Feb/2019 09:23:59

    This is set up beside the house on the right in this photo with the one story entrance. (The grotto is visible at the end of the road.) The small extension is gone now. Streetview.

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    • 12/Feb/2019 09:24:38

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland What did Clare do to deserve those two?

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    Carol Maddock

    • 12/Feb/2019 09:33:19

    Near the hospital in Glenties?

    On next Sunday the Grotto, erected at the entrance to the hospital grounds will be blessed. A very large attendance is anticipated on this special occasion. The town will be beautifully decorated and tableau depicting scenes in the life of Our Lady at various positions on the procession route. Loud speakers will be erected throughout the town. The special lighting effects at the Grotto were carried out by Mr. Charles Cannon, electrician.
    (Donegal News, 5 May 1956) The following week's newspaper names every priest in Ireland involved in the blessing of the Marian Year grotto (or grotty as we called it at our school) at Glenties, but not any of the women who played Mary in 13 tableaux along the route.

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    • 12/Feb/2019 09:59:17

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] Formerly the hospital but now the school is on that site.

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    • 12/Feb/2019 10:54:28

    likely painted in baby blue/sky blue, like so many shrines I've seen here.

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    John A. Coffey

    • 12/Feb/2019 11:39:28

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Marian blue is a tone of the color celeste named for its use with the Virgin Mary.

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    Dún Laoghaire Micheál

    • 12/Feb/2019 11:40:38

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet Seems like there's several versions of Mary, a divine rota perhaps? - just like Library Towers.

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    • 12/Feb/2019 11:45:38

    it took a while for me to realise that this IS a woman and not a finely caste statue ....

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    • 13/Feb/2019 07:25:05

    Excuse my ignorance - the quote is from Chapter 12 of The Book of Revelations ... The text describes "a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (12:1). The woman is pregnant and about to give birth, "travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered" (12:2). More - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman_of_the_Apocalypse & en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revelation_12

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 13/Feb/2019 20:37:21

    Thanks all! I am learning as ever. Before today I had no idea what a tableau vivant was :)

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    Dr. Ilia

    • 19/Feb/2019 09:00:07


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    • 04/Jun/2019 16:01:03

    This is wonderful, and so fascinating