Silver Chalice and Paten Returned to Spike Island After 136 Years

by Seamus Whelehan

Cllr Anthony Barry, deputising for the Mayor of the County of Cork, second right, accepting the silver chalice and paten from David Stanton TD, minister of state for Equality, Immigration and Integration, at the ceremony to mark the handing back of the silver chalice and paten to Cork County Council by the prison service, at Spike Island, Co Cork. Also included are Michael Donnellan, director general of the Irish Prison Service, left, Conor Nelligan, Cork County Council heritage officer, right and back row l-r: Simon Hill co-author of the Spike Island guide book, Rev Adrian Moran, Michael J Ryan, Cork County Council, project manager and John Crotty, general manager of Spike Island. Picture: David Keane.

Almost 140 Years After Their Removal From Spike Island a Silver Chalice and Paten Have Been Returned.
Last Friday 12 May Minister of State at the Department of Justice David Stanton handed over the items to Cork County Council after spending 136 years in Mount Joy prison.
Cobh Municipality Chairman Fine Gael Councillor Anthony Barry accepted the pieces on behalf of the local authority.
Commissioned in 1848 by the Irish Prison Service, the paten and chalice were used to carry out daily service for the islands 2,300 inmates.
When the island ceased to be a prison in 1883 the religious artefacts were brought to Dublin’s Mount joy prison where the island’s governor Peter Hay took up his new posting.
Both items were used in the Church of Ireland chapel until Mount joy closed in 2013.
The chalice and paten will now go on display in a specially constructed case with panels detailing their significance and the role of religion in Victorian reform.
For much of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century transportation to American and Australia was used as punishment.
With crime figures soaring it became apparent free passage to these countries was not a deterrent.

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