Every week we shine a light on a different object from our collections that you may not have seen before.
This week we have a biretta and waistcoat which belonged to Fr Michael Griffin (1892-1920). From Gurteen in east Galway, Griffin was ordained in April 1917. In June 1918, he was assigned to the parish of Rahoon, Galway city and resided at the presbytery at No. 2 Montpellier Terrace.
Photos of Fr Griffin’s biretta and waistcoat from the Galway City Museum collection.
On the night of 14 November 1920, Griffin was lured from his home by a group of men. On 20 November, a shallow grave containing his remains was discovered near the village of Barna. He is buried in the grounds of Loughrea Cathedral, Co. Galway.
Part of a clerical outfit, the biretta developed from the medieval cap known as a birettum or pileus. Made from card covered in material, a tassel is often attached. The colour of the biretta denoted the wearer’s rank: white for the pope, red for cardinals, purple for bishops, and black for priests. The clerical waistcoat which was worn over a shirt and buckled at the rear, was designed to accommodate the priests collar. This particular example is well worn, with a few repairs evident.