Antique Vestments

In the National Museum, Dublin, are very special and precious vestments which belong to the Cathedral but, which were given to the Museum on loan by Bishop Daniel Cohalan in 1948. The Vestments have a strange history, garnished with a noble ecumenical flavour. They may have been hidden during the Cromwellian period and were found in a chest in the crypt of the old Cathedral when it was being demolished in 1773. The Church of Ireland Bishop, Richard Chenevix, presented them to Dean Thomas Hearn, who, at the time was contemplating the building of the Catholic Cathedral.
The set of Vestments comprises: Four Copes; Two Dalmatics; One Chasuble; Accompanying Stoles and Maniples.

Experts consider that they were probably made in Flanders in the latter part of the 15th century. The material is Genoese or Florentine velvet. Each Vestment is inset with human figures and New Testament pictures, all wrought in what is technically known as opus plumorum, of gold and coloured threads. Each Dalmatic, for instance, has panels of Saints and other figures about 7 inches high. The Ophreys of the Copes are very rich – embroidered with Gospel incidents such as the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi, the Presentation, the Crucifixion. Despite their heavy weight the Vestments were used on special occasions even into the present century. They can be seen on display in the National Museum. (The Magi Cope is currently on display in the Museum of Waterford Treasures at the Granary)