New Ross is also the ancestral home of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. It was on the quay of New Ross that his great grandfather boarded a Famine Ship bound for America. President Kennedy embodied the ultimate success story of the Irish emigrant family, passing from famine emigrant to the most powerful man in the world in just three generations. President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in 1963 was a pivotal moment in Irish history and is commemorated by a lifesize statue located on the quayside of New Ross.
Within this historically rich background, the medieval Saint Mary’s Church stands out for the beauty of its amazing Gothic features, although time has taken its toll and all that now remains is a ruin. Completed in 1210 on the ruins of a 6th century monastery, Saint Mary's Church is one of the largest medieval parish churches in the whole of Ireland.
Built in 1812 within the footprint of the old nave of Saint Mary’s Church, the present Church of Ireland preserves only a ruined chancel and the transepts from the medieval remains. The chancel features an aumbry and a damaged sedilia on the south wall, a tomb canopy and niche on the north wall. There are also some good coffin lids and some relatively modern box tombs left in the church. The east gable presents three lancet windows typical of the Gothic style.
The old chancel and the north and south transepts contain one of Ireland's largest collections of medieval tombstones. One features a cross with Lamb of God, symbolism associated with the Knights Templar. Another curiosity is represented by a woman buried next to both of her husbands, a true rarity in the Middle Ages.
Owing to the historic relevance of this church, it was decided by Wexford County Council to enhance the building with a new attracting colour-changing illumination. As the primary contractor and project leader, Paul Read from Al Read Electrical worked closely with Enlighten, part of the Fantasy Lights Group, and Griven to develop and install a unique lighting solution.
The approved lighting design involved the illumination of all the sides of the church in bright, lively colours, which enhance the architectural features of the historical site with an intense, uniform light distribution. In order to comply with these requirements, the newly improved version of Powershine MK2, in its single and double bank configuration, was proposed, and accepted, as a highly efficient and high-performing solution.