Outdoor Stations of the Cross – the story

In December 1938, a decision was taken by the friars in Multyfarnham to construct an outdoor Way of the Cross with life-sized statues. Planning was done by Fr Camillus Courtney OFM then Guardian at the friary.

The figures were designed and supplied by Neff Brothers of Cork City. Mr. Denis Nolan was the engineer and a Mr. Hutchinsons was the landscape gardener. The Way of the Cross spanned both sides of the River Gaine, which flows through the friary grounds.

In 1939, large quantities of cut stone were obtained by the friars from the demolition of two large houses in the district. These stones and pillars were used in the construction of the Way of the Cross. In addition, and as part of the construction, two bridges were also built across the River Gaine. The work was completed in 1942.

The images here show some of the pillars and cut stones used in constructing the Way of the Cross.

Prior to the construction of the Way of the Cross and the landscaping of this area, it was a barren piece of ground, fronting on to the friary and church as shown in the photographs.

In 1943 a stone embankment was erected along each bank of the River Gaine. To accommodate this construction, the first and second Stations were re-located to their present position. This work was commenced on the May 14, 1943 and completed in October of the same year.

The cut stones used in the construction were taken from the demolished outhouses of Ballincaloone House. Those involved in the work were Nicholas Killian, a stonemason from Rathganny, Multyfarnham, Matt Heavy, and Brother Francis Hession OFM of the friary community.

In 1949 Harrison Monumental Sculptors of Pearse Street in Dublin provided designs for plaques which were proposed for placement in front of each Station to commemorate their donors.

In May 1952 work commenced on the Twelfth Station (“Jesus dies on the Cross” or the Calvary Station) to improve and elevate the site correctly. This involved the removal of up to 1,200 tons of soil from a site near the farmyard which was transported to the friary to re-construct the station. (See the photograph below) This work was completed in June 1952.

Fr Liam McCarthy OFM (Guardian 2015 to 2017) undertook a programme of work to clean and re-paint the statues of each Station.

Today’s visitors to the Way of the Cross can avail of the spiritual atmosphere and a place for reflection.

Below displays a series of images from our Stations of the Cross garden.