On the St. Patrick’s side of the Timberyard, the building faces onto Brabazon Street. It’s residential, accessed from the Coombe and closed to traffic from Cork Street. There’s a small pedestrian inlet at the corner and within it, there’s a grotto dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The statue had been on a nearby site but got stranded by the road engineering.

Though it’s now dormant, Eoin O’Mahony‘s Marian Ireland blog featured a good selection of Marian statues, and there’s a nice recent interview with him on Come Here To Me which mentions Our Lady of the Liberties being rescued from a skip by one of the builders.

The placement seems very successful. It’s a moderately busy shortcut and access route, and the arch holds it as part of the building: a cue that you’re walking into residential space. Mary isn’t visible from a distance. She’s incorporated like just another resident: a big generous window, timber panels, and stone stepping up to provide a threshold (in this case, for kneeling rather than sitting outside or displaying plants). It’s a contemporary setting for something that’s usually presented more traditionally, and it’s interesting that it’s sitting on public/private boundaries by being within the building.

I wonder if anyone kneels there.

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