Over 550 years old, the survival of these vestments (which were concealed to save them from Oliver Cromwell, and were missing for over 120 years) is amazing in itself – what is even more impressive is the beauty and completeness of these products of mid 15th Century Florence and Bruges.
According to the Medieval Museum Waterford website:
The Waterford cloth-of-gold vestments are the only full set of medieval vestments to survive in northern Europe.
They are Ireland’s only link with the Renaissance that was beginning in northern Europe and the survival of such fragile material after being buried for 123 years is truly remarkable.
In what is a very impressive museum, the vestments are dramatically displayed in a darkened room and that heightens the sense of wonder they would probably evoke in any case. I did find the attempt in the display and audio-visual to link them to W B Yeats’ “He Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven” a little forced and incongruous.
Here is a video from 2014 of the Museum Director discussing the vestments