DCC unveils artist’s reconstruction of medieval priory

by Rachel Cunningham
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Dublin City Council has announced the digital launch of the artist’s reconstruction of St John’s Priory, Kilmainham by Stephen Conlin, as part of the Dublin Festival of History 2022.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, a group of historians and archaeologists worked with artist Stephen Conlin to reconstruct a drawing of St John’s Priory Kilmainham at its height in the mid-fourteenth century c.1340.

For almost 400 years (c.1174 to 1540), the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem kept a priory with a headquarters in Kilmainham, Dublin. This monastic house was the main residence in Ireland of the Knights Hospitaller, who came to Ireland at the time of the Anglo-Norman Invasion.

The priory and headquarters were ruined during the Reformation and finally demolished at the end of the seventeenth century to build the Royal Hospital and nothing survives of it above ground.

Dr Ruth Johnson, Dublin City Council’s City Archaeologist, said: “Stephen Conlin’s attention to historical detail is exceptional, and his artistic observations are superb, you can even see the tracks of the horses in the yard. The team is really looking forward to seeing how Stephen’s beautiful reconstruction drawing is received by visitors to the site.”

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