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It is by the contrast of light and shade that one obtains a well-defined picture and there is plenty of light and shade in Pugin's life-story to give us a fair idea of the character of the man himself. One of his contemporaries, John Ruskin, who in his day was considered as an oracle of all that related to medieval and modern architecture sneered much at Pugin's designs for churches and more particularly at his Catholic faith. To the first point Pugin in his curt manner replied, “Let that fellow (Ruskin) go and build something for himself”; to the sneer at his faith Pugin replied in a lengthier statement in which the following paragraph occurs: “I learned the truths of the Catholic religion in the crypts of the old Cathedrals of Europe. I sought for these truths in the modern Church of England, and found that since her separation from the centre of Catholic unity she had little truth and no life, so, without being acquainted with a single priest, through God's mercy, I resolved to enter His Church”. In other words a study of the liturgy which he undertook to explain the functional features of the medieval churches eventually led him to the Catholic faith.
By a strange and historical coincidence Pugin was introduced to the diocese of Ferns. Very early in his career he had become acquainted with the Earl of Shrewsbury, for whom he carried out important work at Alton Towers, the Earl's residence. The family name of Shrewsbury was Talbot, and the Talbots had long connections with Wexford, as they had inherited extensive tracts of land in the county, through marriage with the immediate descendants of Strongbow. As the result of the Talbot connection with Wexford, Pugin was commissioned to build seven churches in the diocese; the College Chapel, the chapels of Edermine and Bellvue, Bree, Tagoat, Gorey, the Cathedral, Enniscorthy and possibly, Ramsgrange.
Typical of many of Pugin's churches was the rood-screen which adorned the chapel up to 1952, when it was removed to give more accomodation. Here the change has been for the better, for the chapel has acquired a more functional lay-out.
Here in the College we have in stone and glass the vision of a man steeped in the knowledge of Gothic art.