Franciscan items put up for auction to make way for Ukrainian refugees

May 07, 2023 10:00 AM AEST | By PAMEDIA
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Franciscan Brothers are to auction off more than 800 ecclesiastical lots valued at 200,000 euro to help refurbish accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.

The items were cleared out of the Franciscan College in Gormanston, Co Meath as well as friaries in Athlone, Co Westmeath and Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

The collection includes mid-century furniture, ecclesiastical art, brassware, school benches, pews and a full-sized mahogany billiards table which has a guide price of up to 2,000 euro.

A model of a church that will feature at the 200,000 euro auction
A model of a church that will feature at the 200,000 euro auction (Michael Donnelly/PA)

Elsewhere, a selection of Persian and Afghan wool rugs are also estimated at up to 2,000 euro each.

The highest end lots include a 19th century oil on canvas painting titled The Inquisition, a marble fire surround and an “exceptional” marble statue of St Joseph and a child.

The lots go under an online hammer on May 16 and 17.

The Inquisition, a 19th century oil on canvas, guided at 2000-4000 euro
The Inquisition, a 19th century oil on canvas, has an estimate of 2000-4000 euro (Michael Donnelly/PA)

The proceeds will go towards the refurbishment costs of accommodation previously occupied by the Franciscan Brothers which is now being repurposed for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

“The Brothers would have lived in the premises adjacent to the churches and over the years, moved to alternative sites and it is those friaries that are now being converted,” said co-ordinator Niall Mullen, who catalogued the collection.

“This is the finest selection of ecclesiastical items to come on the market in many years, and probably the last chance to see such a vast collection in Ireland again.”

Brass detail from a selection that will feature at the auction
Brass detail from a selection that will feature at the auction (Michael Donnelly/PA)

The contents furnished the Franciscan locations “over three generations”.

Furniture from the collection spans from the Victorian era through to mid-century, including writing desks and dining tables, an art noveau chest, ornate vintage bookcases and chairs from different stylistic eras, such as a late Victorian armchair, a 19th century smoker’s bow chair and several sets of dining seats.

A wide selection of art includes a Madonna and Child in the style of Raphael, a St Joseph and Child marble statue by Irish sculptor Peter Grant, circa 1830, and a late 19th century large oil on canvas piece entitled The Ascension.

A selection of chalices and ciboria
A selection of chalices and ciboria (Michael Donnelly/PA)

Ecclesiastical pieces include several decommissioned tabernacles, chalices, antique leatherbound bibles, stations of the cross, an Oklahoma organ and several 19th century gothic pews.

Among the more practical paraphernalia are a Victorian Irish gothic design grandfather clock, vintage typewriters and sewing machines, antique safes and lockers, push bikes, an Edwardian barometer, a vintage projector, Victorian weighing scales and an antique snooker marker.

Among the more recent items which appear in the collection are a poker set and a Christies catalogue of Marilyn Monroe’s personal property.

Madonna and Child artwork
Madonna and Child in the style of Raphael, estimated at 800-1200 euro (Michael Donnelly)

From the extensive collection of brass is featured polished brass coal boxes, large lanterns and centre lights, a Victorian half tester bed and a brass and glass candelabrum.

Viewing of the pieces in advance of the online auction will take place at Cook Street Friary, Dublin, from May 12-15.

The auction will take place on May 16 and 17 via Aidan Foley at


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