Tom Glendon’s exhibition is not the tentative explorations
of some fledgling student but shows all the assurance and
sensitivity of the master craftsman that he is. The work has
a range of images in stone, wood and bronze which he has gathered
and retained over the last 24 years in his work as a stone
carver throughout Ireland.
In these works, he has brought all of his creativity, craftsmanship
and practical experience into play. This exhibition, then,
is a celebration of Tom Glendon’s imagination and of
the formative themes and influences which helped to mould
him. It is also a major milestone in his development as a
We are fortunate to have artists such as Tom Glendon. But
we all too often take them and their work for granted. Their
work enhances our society; it is a resource that we all benefit
“Our craft is the oldest in the world. Our handiwork
is seen everywhere, in town, country and village. The men
who have gone before us have left us a heritage to be proud
of; and we feel our own contribution has been for the good.
With hammer, mallet and chisel we have shaped and Fashioned
rough boulders…. we are a little group of Craftsmen….
doing our work as well as we can….
Every graveyard, every old church, every old building
Reminding us we are not as good as we think. They are
Our models and very exacting they can be….”
Thus Seamus Murphy, in the preface to Stone Mad, his masterly
study of stone cutting in his native Cork, described his fellow
Tom Glendon, as the title of his exhibition, “In My
Forefathers Line”, shows, is one of a rare breed. As
we say in the fraternity of men in stone, he did not pick
the trade off the ground: he was born into it.
Having worked in his father’s stoneyard in Deans Grange,
learning the basic skill of his trade, he went on to serve
his apprenticeship to Michael Biggs, one of the best stonecarvers
in the country. Upon completion of his training, in 1974,
he moved to Limerick and Shannon, where he set up a workshop
in inscription, design and carving.
I met him for the first time then and I immediately recognised
that here was no ordinary journeyman stonecutter, but masterly
craftsman who sought perfection in his work and respect for
a job well done. I worked with Tom at that time, and set in
position some of the sculpture and stones that he had cut,
carved and lettered.
He returned to Dublin in 1982, and established a workshop
at Bray. His work is to be seen in a wide variety of places
in Dublin and other parts of the country.
Stonecutters survived in our society against a background
of social, cultural, political change and, above all, changes
in design and building materials and technology. The day when
stone was the main material used in the construction of most
buildings is long since gone but, I am pleased to say that
trades of stonecutter and stonemason are still alive and flourishing
There is no reason why architects should not continue to
use stone and sculpture as much as possible in modern buildings.
Stone endures and dignifies, and where is there not a stone
bridge that is NOT in some way attractive?
As well as being a sculptor and stone cutter, Tom Glendon
has other talents. In 1988, he worked with Peter Feeney, the
producer, and Patrick Gallagher, the presenter and scriptwriter,
on the hour long television documentary, “Dublin in Stone”.
This film was a magnificent celebration of Dublin, its stone
buildings and monuments and the men who built them. I fervently
wish that Peter Feeney and Patrick Gallagher will do a similar
programme on Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Kilkenny and
I know how hard Tom Glendon has worked in preparing this
exhibition. He well deserves this success and this tribute
from me. It has been a pleasure and an honour for me to have
been invited to open this exhibition.
Speech by Alderman JAMES KEMMY,T.D.
At the opening of one man show at the Solomon Gallery, Dublin,