Basilica of Our Lady of Knock, Co Mayo Ireland ‘Pilgrimage’ Commission installed.

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

The entrance corridors of the Basilica of Knock have been newly renovated and after a two year process of designing and manufacturing, I recently installed a large commission for both glazed entrances, of 36m x 3m transparent painted glass in 6 sections.


A pilgrimage is a symbol that is acted out. In seeking to separate oneself from the everyday concerns of the world, one chooses to spend time in the presence of God by travelling to a place of special meaning.  Although traditionally, pilgrimages were long and arduous, contemporary pilgrims tend to make shorter journeys. On journeys one can be alone or with others. Travelling to a special place where the divine pierces through the mundane, a pilgrimage holds out the promise of help and comfort in this world and of a living encounter with deity. This sacred place can be within oneself but physical journeys can be symbolic with strongly held beliefs that a deity or saint is eternally accessible at the point where he or she lived or appeared as happened at the shrine of Knock.

Stripping away trappings of material culture and presenting only the essential elements, these windows suggest individuals or a group making a journey, the advancing crowds approach the Basilica. Individual figures stand apart or approach the procession, or the assembled crowd. This symbolises the journey of the individual, either as a singular act or as a movement of people, symbolising choosing to leave a group or to join them, answering a calling, or a responding to the actions of others.

The imagery creates a vision of open landscape, echoing the experience of approaching and leaving Knock. It also serves as a metaphor for the openness of clear thinking and a peaceful state of mind. On approach to the Basilica the strong yellow colours draw the pilgrim in to the main vestibule.  The two corridors of windows work in synergy with each other, transparent areas allowing the pilgrim to look though them see the apparition site and chapel of reconciliation outside, and and view the window opposite. On exiting the Basilica, the individual painted figures and the dispersing pilgrims outside become integrated into the window, the setting and purpose merge as one. As every pilgrim leaves the shrine, they carry with them a part of the experience of their personal journey and in this, every visitor to the shrine is forever represented in these windows.

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