Vandalised religious statue restored to its former glory

FINISHING touches were being put to the restoration of one of the country’s oldest religious statues which was badly damaged by drunks nine months ago.

The Our Lady of Limerick statue which is more than 400 years old and has survived the Cromwellian wars and the siege of Limerick was almost decapitated last year when vandals tried to pull it from its mounting at St Saviour’s Dominican Church in Limerick.

The religious icon was badly damaged after coming under attack from bottle-wielding drunks who put a rope around the neck of the statue in an attempt to pull it from its pedestal.

Aubrey Hodkinson has carefully completed the redecoration of the statue.

Generations of his family have been involved in decorating churches.

Mr Hodkinson, aged 75, said: “I first painted this statue in 1956, but because of recent vandalism it has to be done again. Hopefully this time, it will be over another 100 years before the statue needs to be repainted again.”

Fr Philip McShane of the Dominicans said the Our Lady of Limerick statue is the most widely revered statue in Limerick.

Carved out of oak in Flanders more than 400 years ago, it is almost 1.5-metres high.

It was presented to the people of Limerick in 1640.

To save it from desecration during the Cromwellian period it was placed in a box and buried.

The statue was later rediscovered and placed on a pedestal after the church was built.

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