If stained glass is making a revival in Cork, it could be down to one man, James Nicholl, who facilitates stained glass night classes in Carrigaline Community School and Ashton Comprehensive School.
“Rather than picking projects for the students, I let them create their own projects in their own way,” says James, who himself is a traditional stained glass lead worker and artist. “The classes have proven hugely popular, with people aged from their 20s to 80, including a former master craftsman from Waterford Crystal. And the projects they do are relevant to their own lives, whether those are light catchers to hang on windows, 3D tealights, Tiffany lamp shades, mirror surrounds, or sidelights for front doors.”
Stained glass has a rich heritage in Ireland, which is not always appreciated in today’s throwaway culture, says James. “When churches were being built in Ireland from the 1820s to the 1850s, there was a great construction period in the Catholic Church and a Gothic revival period in the Anglican Church. That created demand, with craftsmen coming in from England working with local apprentices. However, that work died off, and stained glass now gets recycled from one church to another.”
James started his education journey by first teaching Transition Year students in Carrigaline about stained glass and its history. When the students’ parents asked him about it, he suspected there might be a demand for adult education classes in stained glass. “There’s probably no other course around that starts from scratch.”
Some items produced in the Stained Glass courses at Carrigaline Community School and Ashton School in Cork
Some of our Dublin schools also run Stained Glass courses.