Sister Concepta Lynch and the Lynch method of Celtic Art 1874 - 1939

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Lily Lynch was born in Middle Abbey Street, Dublin. She was educated in Dominican College Eccles Street and later in Dominican College Dun Laoghaire.

As a young child she learnt the Lynch Method of Celtic Art from her father, Thomas Joseph Lynch, who was a renowned Dublin artist.

Her father specialised in illuminated addresses and as well as travelling to the gentry of England with these, he visited the shrines of europe where irish monks had once lived. He studied the celtic patterns on their stones and crosses.

When she was twelve, Lily, in her father's absence painted an illuminated address for one of his customers. About this time her mother died. So she went as a boarder to Dominican College Dun Laoghaire. Here she learnt to play the piano, the violin and the cello. She also had her voice trained. She loved to play games and admire the flowers and birds in the convent gardens.

Her father died when she was about sixteen years of age. She then took his place in his work shop in Graften Street. After six years she became a postulant in the Dominican convent, Dun Laoghaire. She received the name Concepta, she would play every note for the love of Jesus.

She made profession to pray, to bless and to preach. She taught in the primary school. Later she taught painting illumination, embroidery and music in the senior college. At recreation she played irish dance music for the students. On Saturdays she taught the Lynch Method of Celtic Design to the local children - there was an annual prize giving display.

In 1919, an oratory was built by the sisters and the people of Dun Laoghaire in thanks giving for peace after World War 1. Sister Concepta was asked to decorate it. She did so in the Celtic style her father had taught her.

As her father taught Lily the Lynch method of Celtic decoration, so Lily, as Sr. Concepta, taught the methods to her students. She prepared teaching charts on A2 sized white linen blinds with wooden laths on either ends. The paint she used for these and for the decoration of the Oratory was ordinary household wall paint.

She had annual celebrity concerts and she produced ornately illuminated addresses for feast days. Apart from teaching and playing the organ for the liturgy she spent all her free time painting the Oratory- using stencils and house paint.

The stencils were her own original designs but she took her inspiration for these from the Book of Kells. She found time later to hand paint costumes for plays and she illuminated Blossom Time, the school magazine.

The Oratory decoration was completed by her in 1936. She became ill and had to rest from her work. But she prayed for the baby of a past pupil, Maureen Healy - that he might be a priest. He is now Myles Healy CSSp and he works in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Her handmade crib was no longer put to use for the carol services she enjoyed so much. She died in April 1939.

Click here to see examples of Sr. Concepta's teaching charts

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