Bishop Grimes’ Lantern Slides

The lantern slide has its origins in 17th century optical viewing devices which became known as “magic lanterns.” The earliest slides for magic lanterns were hand-painted images on glass, projected by travelling showmen telling stories based on the images that were being projected. . In 1849, about ten years after the invention of photography, lantern slides began to be produced photographically. Rapid improvements in photographic and projection methods increased the popularity of magic lantern slides, particularly in educational fora.

The slides are constructed from a base piece of glass, with the emulsion (photo) on it, then a matte over that, and then a top piece of cover glass. They are then taped all the way around to keep the pieces together and to keep dust out.

Bishop Grimes accumulated a large collection of lantern slides which he used to illustrate lectures. Of the slides from Bishop Grimes’ Collection, the adhesive of the tape has dried out on many slides and the paper tape turned brittle, and in some cases leaving the entire slide separating. As the slides are made of glass, they are also very fragile and some have cracks. But they are, nonetheless, an insight in to what interested Bishop Grimes.

Having lived eleven years in Ireland, the country held a place in his heart and his collection of slides from Ireland is impressive.

While assessing three archive boxes of Bishop Grimes’ Sermons, I discovered his ‘Illustrated Lecture on Picturesque Ireland’. To follow are some images of his lantern slide collection, accompanied by extracts from his ‘Illustrated Lecture’ given in 1908.

I know a good deal of Europe – I have visited its chief cities and many of its towns and villages, and I can fearlessly say that for scenic beauty Ireland is equal to any, and superior to many.

Its scenery is as varied as it is beautiful. The air mild and invigorating; whilst its people are most interesting, full of wit and humor, and the most cordial hospitality.

I have lived eleven years in the Isle of Saints. I was ordained priest in the city of Dublin; I made a host of sincere friends there, and I propose to-night to re-visit it with you, to get you to take a keen interest in the dear old Isle of Saints and Sages.

The first spot to visit is, naturally, the Capital of Ireland – DUBLIN. Few cities in the world are so advantageously situated as the Metropolis of Ireland. It is intersected by the River Liffey which flows through it from West to East and discharges itself into the noble Bay which is guarded on one side by the Hill of Howth, and on the other by Killiney Hill and Kingstown. Fresh breezes from the sea and the hills contribute to keep the city healthy; while the scenery the most lovely is within an hour’s walk of its crowded streets…

O’Connell’s Statue

The ancient Parliament House, til the Union of 1800, often rang with the forensic eloquence of the uncrowned Monarch of Ireland the great Dan O’Connell, whose monument stands before you.

The Irish are well known for their ready answers, O’Connell was once asked what he thought if a certain lady who was of very stiff, cold and formal manners. He gave this sarcastic yet graphic description of her – “she has all the characteristics of a poker – except its occasional warmth”

The Four Courts

The Four Courts is a handsome building of Grecian architecture with a façade of 450 feet long and the Corinthian portico in the centre. Irish wit in the 4 courts. Entering the Four Courts we heard a prisoner remarking to the judge

“If it please your honour, I’d like to withdraw my plea of Not Guilty and plead Guilty” “Why did you not plead Guilty in the first place and save all this trouble?”

“Sure, your Honour” said the prisoner, “How could I since I hadn’t heard the evidence agin me then?”

Campanile and Quadrangle at Trinity College Dublin
Jerry the Driver of the jaunting car

The world-wide reputation for wit and humour, conscious and unconscious, which the Irish people enjoy, is well founded. The Irish Jarvey is brimful of wit “Which is the shortest way to Marlboro’s St Church?” one was asked. The ready answer – “Your honour” said Jerry, laying his hand on the car “this is the shortest way”.

Father Matthew’s statue.
The great apostle of Temperance. If any lover of his race deserved a monument, he surely did.
School of Art & Library
South View of the Library

Situated in one of the fine Dublin Squares ‘Merrion Square’. The great O’Connell used to live in no 30, and the Duke of Wellington was born at 24 Merrion St close by.

Nassau and Grafton St corner

This corner leads into St Stephen’s Green, one of the finest Squares in Dublin.

Chapel at Maynooth College

About 15 miles from Dublin this celebrated Ecclesiastical Seminary for the Clergy of Ireland has been the nursery of the greatest dignitaries including Cardinals, Arch-Bishops, and Professors in Ireland. Since 1795 it has been endowed by various Acts of Parliament. In 1885, it was permanently endowed for 500 students, and 20 senior scholars and £30,000 was appropriated for the erection of buildings. Here is the College Chapel – a Gothic Structure of the great Pugin. It is truly an architectural gem and contains the greatest number of stalls of any church in the world – between 5 and 600.

St Kevin’s Cross and Round Tower

The origin and use of these round towers have given rise to much discussion. Some authorities are of the opinion that these mysterious structures were temples of piety, dedicated in pagan times to the worship of the sun. It is thought that the Druid Priest ascended to the top every morning to watch the sunrise, and on catching sight of the first rays proclaimed the fact aloud. Others consider these relics to be bell towers. Their proximity to Cathedrals and Churches would seem to warrant this supposition.

Durrow’s Cross, Kings County

Many of these crosses are to be seen scattered over the land. The Durrow’s Cross, formed from a single block of granite is 11 feet high and very richly wrought.

Kilkenny Castle from the bridge

This is the Baronial Castle of the Marquis of Ormond and is full of historical associations. It was originally built by Strongbow, but has been repeatedly enlarged.

County Cork

The largest county in Ireland is Cork, in the province of Munster. It is admirably situated for commerce, possessing a coast-line of about 100 miles, indented with noble bays and harbours. The chief of these is Cork Harbour. The distance from Cork to Dublin by rail is 165 miles passing through a portion of 5 counties. The River Lee flows through Cork, converting the principal portion of the city in to an island.

On South Chanel, Cork

Here is an exterior view of the beautiful church of the Dominicans.

And a specimen of genuine local Irish wit – They were trying an Irishman charged with a petty offence in a country town, when the judge asked “Have you anyone in Court who will vouch for your good character?”

“Yes, your Honour” was the quick reply “There is the Sergeant there”

Whereupon the Sergeant showed signs of amazement – “why your Honour” he declared “I don’t even know the man”.

“Observe your Honour” said the Irishman triumphantly “See, I have lived in this district for over 12 years and the Sergeant doesn’t know me yet! Isn’t that a character for you?”

Meeting of the Waters Killarney

The beautiful place where the waters of the 3 lakes of Killarney mingle is called “the Meeting of the Waters”.

Ross Castle

Ross Castle is another fine ruin in the neighborhood of Killarney.

The Giants Causeway

Portrush, a small seaport town on the northern extremity of Co Antrim, is the nearest station to the most famous curiosity perhaps in the world – the basaltic rocks forming the Causeway.

Without entering into geological details suffice to say that these columns are composed chemically of about one half flinty earth, one quarter iron and one quarter clay and lime. They are plutonic in their origin i.e. formed by a perfect fusion of the ingredients into one mass, which in cooling has cracked or crystalized into regular forms, as starch will on drying.

I must now reluctantly bring our rambles to a close. To me it has been a labour of love and I am grateful for your rapt attention…Nature has been indeed lavish in its bounteous bestowal of beauty spots in the Isle of Saints and Sages. Let us only hope that the hand of man may not be allowed to mar the work of God, but that with good laws, the island may be as happy and prosperous as it is lovely in its varied scenery, and that man may do something more for the land for which Nature has done so much.

[Catholic Diocese of Christchurch Archives Reference: 2017.16 Bishop Grimes’ Sermons; Bishop Grimes’ Lantern Slides uncatalogued]


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