Trip to Utrecht

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- Dom Tower, Utrecht

In November, we were delighted to be invited by the St. Jakobus und Johannes Gilde, Emmerich am Rhein, Germany (Guild of St. John and St. James Rhineland), to attend their conference in the town of Kalkar to present a paper on St. Willibrord and his County Carlow connection. St. Willibrord and his missionaries spent time in that area and his influence is still there to this day. St. Willibrord was appointed the first Archbishop of Utrecht, the Netherlands, which borders the Rhineland. Dermot Mulligan, Museum Curator, presented a paper in which he explained St. Willibrord’s training at Rath Melsigi, Co. Carlow and the influence of Irish monks in the 6th and 7th centuries. The Guild are planning a visit to Carlow and Ireland in the Autumn of 2019

Close to Kalkar is the town of Emmerich which is home to the Church of St. Martin. Contained in the church is a beautiful 7th century Relic that was presented to St. Willibrord by Pope Sergius in AD 695 in Rome when Willibrord was installed as the first Archbishop of Utrecht.

In AD 690, St. Willibrord and his missionaries left Rath Melsigi, Co. Carlow, and headed for what we know today as the Netherlands. His impact on the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany was enormous andhis influence is still present to this day. In AD 695, he was installed by Pope Sergius as the first Archbishop of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Near the area close to where his Cathedral was located is a wonderful bronze statue of St. Willibrord, on horseback, mounted on a stone plinth, which was erected after World War II and commemorates the 1,200 anniversary of his death in AD 739. The nearby large Anglican Cathedral of St. Martin’s, is built on or very near to the location of St. Willibrord’s original cathedral. 

- St. Willibrord on horseback, Utrecht.

The 19th century Catholic Church is named after St. Willibrord and contains a Relic of him. The St. Catherine’s Museum, displaying the Netherlands religious history, contains several items from St. Willibrord’s time.

In November, Dermot Mulligan, Museum Curator, presented a paper on St. Willibrord’s Co. Carlow connection and the influence of Irish monks in the 6th and 7th centuries at the conference of St. Jakobus und Johannes Gilde, Emmerich am Rhein, Germany (Guild of St. John and St. James Rhineland), to the town of Kalkar. Interestingly, the room in which the conference was held had a large portrait of St. Brigid of Kildare. While we know that St. Brigid didn’t travel to Germany her influence is to be found in many areas of west Germany and the Netherlands. Quite likely devotion to her was brought to the Netherlands and Germany by St. Willibrord and his colleagues.

- commemoration plaque to St. Willibrord to mark 1200 years since his passing.
- Side altar in the Church of St. Willibrord. The Relic is displayed in the shrine under the altar and the statue above the altar is St. Willibrord himself.

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