Frances Kelly’s ‘Pieta’ painting celebrated at Clongowes | Clongowes Wood College

Posted: 19th December 2023

Stairway Group

The Importance of Giving

A celebration of those who have given to Clongowes past and present took place on Sunday 10th December at Clongowes as part of our annual Mass of Thanksgiving for Benefactors.  The role of giving has always been of great importance in the story of Clongowes allowing the school to develop and meet the ever-changing needs of each generation of students.  The generosity of Benefactors ensures the school can flourish and continue to excel in its mission to educate men of competence, conscience, and compassion.

Following the Mass of Thanksgiving the newly restored and rehung ‘Pieta’ painting by Frances Kelly ARHA 1908-2002 was available for viewing in its new home above the main Reception in the Castle.

The ‘Pieta’ was commissioned for Clongowes by the Gilmartin family in 1939 and was given in memory of Dr John P Gilmartin OC’27 with the following dedication.

‘In memory of John Patrick Gilmartin, who died on 10th May 1934, aged 25 years, his mother and family have made this gift to Clongowes. He was devoted to his home, to this school, to his country and the Faith; death robbed him only of the rewards the world gives’.

Frances Kelly specialised in still life works and her work was part of the painting event in the art competition at the 1932 Summer Olympics.  Throughout her short career Kelly received excellent reviews, with most critics commending her freshness and delicacy.  In 1935 she married Frederick Boland OC’21. Frederick became Irish Ambassador in London in 1950 and in 1956 he became Ireland’s first permanent representative at the UN in New York.  His picture now hangs in the Serpentine Gallery.

Clongowes Foundation wishes to thank all donors for their support. For more information on developments at Clongowes and how you can support please contact Antoinette Kelly 045 838215 /


Go to Top