A rare medieval wooden sculpture of the Madonna miraculously discovered among the burning thatch as a fire gutted the Cosy Thatch pub at Kilmeaden, is to go on permanent display at Waterford Museum of Treasures.
The statue, which is thirty-one inches in height and dates back to the 15th century, has been donated to the museum by the proprietor of the Cosy Thatch, Martin Doyle.
Hidden possibly for centuries in the thatch of the Cosy Thatch public house, the beautifully sculpted hardwood statue was discovered at midnight on the 12th August 1996 when firemen trying to control a fire at the premises pulled down the burning thatch thus exposing the statue.
The discovery of this extremely rare object of Roman Catholic religious devotion is almost miraculous, as only seven medieval statues of the Madonna have survived in Ireland.
The Director of Waterford Museum of Treasures Eamonn McEneaney described the donation as a remarkable act of generosity – of all of the objects donated to the museum since opening in 1999 this sculpture is beyond doubt the finest and rarest. [Source]
Let us add Mr. Martin Doyle to our prayer lists, then! In a world of E-Bay sales and a time of financial burden, that was very kind of him.
How wonderful. How old is the inn building? Whoever hid the statue there didn’t go back and fetch it out. I wonder what the original circumstances were that led it to be concealed there. The Irish have certainly had their share of invasions and religious persecution.
I had thought that places with thatched rooves (is that the right plural?) got them re-thatched every so often. Still, it’s an interesting story…I just imagine some Catholic fleeing persecution and hiding an old treasured statue in the roof of a pub…it’s a good story.
In reference to Ard ri comments rethatching first of all the old thatch is not removed when a new thatch is applied the new thatch is knitted in to the old? the cosy thatch pub was built in cira 1475 it was a farm house which bordered the old church of Kilmeaden which was destroyed by cromwells men as written in Charles Smyths history of Waterford it did not become a pub until 1732. as a master thatcher I have viewed the thatch at the cosy thatch many times in training younger thatchers to the old style of thatching. the origional thatch of 1475 still remains on the roof of the cosy thatch as only a third of the roof was destroyed by the fire of 1996 it is also the National Heritage pub of Ireland