Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral

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Country  Ireland
Dedication  Saint Fin Barre
Completed  1879
Phone  +353 21 496 3387
Denomination  Church of Ireland
Groundbreaking  1865+
Opened  1879
Architect  William Burges
Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral
Address  Bishop St, The Lough, Cork, Ireland
Architectural style  Gothic Revival architecture
Similar  Church of St Anne - Shandon, Cork City Gaol, Fitzgerald's Park, Spike Island - County C, Fota Wildlife Park

Saint fin barre s cathedral church cork ireland

Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral, (Irish: Ardeaglais Naomh Fionnbarra) is a cathedral of the Church of Ireland in Cork city, Ireland. It is in the ecclesiastical province of Dublin. Begun in 1863, the cathedral was the first major work of the Victorian architect William Burges. Previously the cathedral of the Diocese of Cork, it is now one of three cathedrals in the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross.


Saint fin barre s cathedral ardeaglais naomh fionnbarra

History and architecture

The current cathedral is built on the site of at least two previous structures dedicated to Finbarr of Cork. The first dated from the 7th century, with works continuing through the 12th century. This building was damaged during the Siege of Cork (1690), and a new structure was built in 1735 - though elements of the earlier spire were retained.

This structure remained until the 1860s, when a competition for the building of a new larger cathedral was held 1862. In February 1863, the designs of the architect William Burges was declared the winner of the competition to build a new cathedral of St Fin Barre. His diary records his reaction - "Got Cork!" - whilst the cathedral accounts record the payment of the winning prize sum of £100. Building work took seven years before the first service was held in the cathedral in 1870. Building, carving and decoration continued into the 20th century, long after Burges's death in 1881.

The style of the building is Early French, Burges's favoured period and a style he continued to favour throughout his life, choosing it for his own home, The Tower House, in Kensington. The stipulated price for construction was to be £15,000, a sum vastly exceeded. The total cost came to significantly over £100,000. Burges was "unconcerned," writing to the Bishop of Cork in January 1877: "(In the future) the whole affair will be on its trial and, the elements of time and cost being forgotten, the result only will be looked at. The great questions will then be, first, is this work beautiful and, secondly, have those to whom it was entrusted, done it with all their heart and all their ability."

Burges oversaw all aspects of the design, including the architecture of the building, the statuary, the stained glass and the internal decoration. The result is "undoubtedly Burges's greatest work in ecclesiastical architecture".

List of Deans of Cork

The deans of Cork include the following, with a number of deans being elevated to the episcopacy.

  • 1582 - Thomas Long
  • 1590–1600 - Robert Grave (afterwards Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin, 1600)
  • 1600–1604 - Thomas Ram (afterwards Dean of Ferns, 1604 and then Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin, 1605)
  • 1605 - George Ley or Lee
  • 1627/8–1641 - John Fitzgerald
  • 1642 - Henry Hall (later Bishop of Killala and Achonry, 1661)
  • 1645–1661 - Edward Worth (afterwards Bishop of Killaloe,1661)
  • 1661 - Thomas Hackett
  • 1662–1666 - Roger Boyle (afterwards Bishop of Down and Connor, 1667)
  • 1666/7–1672 - John Vesey (afterwards Bishop of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe, 1672)
  • 1672/3–1708 - Arthur Pomeroy
  • 1709/10 - Rowland Davies
  • 1721/2–1736 - Robert Carleton
  • 1736–1750 - William Meade
  • 1763–1779 - George Chinnery (afterwards Bishop of Killaloe and Kilfenora, 1779)
  • 1779–1795 - John Erskine
  • 1796–1807 - Hon Thomas St Lawrence (afterwards Bishop of Cork, 1807)
  • 1807–1812 - John Powell Leslie (afterwards Bishop of Dromore, 1812)
  • 1812–1813 - James Saurin (afterwards Archdeacon of Dublin and then Bishop of Dromore,1819)
  • 1813–1819 - William Magee (afterwards Bishop of Raphoe, 1819)
  • 1819–1841 - Robert Burrowes
  • 1841–1842 - James Thomas O'Brien (afterwards Bishop of Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin, 1842)
  • 1842–1864 - Horatio Townsend Newman
  • 1864–1866 - William Connor Magee (afterwards Dean of the Chapel Royal, Dublin and then Bishop of Peterborough, 1868)
  • 1868–1874 - Arthur William Edwards
  • 1874–1875 - Robert Samuel Gregg (afterwards Bishop of Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin, 1875)
  • 1875–1878 - Achilles Daunt
  • 1878–1890 - Samuel Owen Madden
  • 1891–1894 - Thomas Brisbane Warren
  • 1894–1897 - Mervyn Archdall (afterwards Bishop of Killaloe and Clonfert, 1897)
  • 1897–?1914 - Charles Saul Bruce
  • 1914–>1944 - Richard Babington
  • 1952–1952 - George Otto Simms (afterwards Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, 1952)
  • 1952–?1962 - Henry Robert McAdoo (afterwards Bishop of Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin, 1962)
  • 1962–?1967 - Ernest George Daunt
  • 1967–?1971 - Frederick Mervyn Kieran Johnston
  • 1971–1993 - James Maurice George Carey
  • 1993–1996 - Richard Clarke (afterwards Bishop of Meath and Kildare, 1996 and then Archbishop of Armagh, 2012)
  • 1997–2002 - Michael Jackson (afterwards Bishop of Clogher, 2002 and then Archbishop of Dublin, 2011)
  • 2002–2006 - Michael Burrows (afterwards Bishop of Cashel and Ossory, 2006)
  • 2008–present - Nigel Dunne
  • Organ

    The organ was built in 1870 by William Hill & Sons, with 3 manuals and 40 stops. The action on the Great was a form of pneumatic action (possibly Barker lever) on the Great, and tracker for the other two manuals. The instrument was overhauled in 1889 by the Cork organ-building firm, T.W. Magahy, who added three new stops. As part of these works, the organ was moved from the west gallery (balcony) down to a pit in the north transept, where it sits today.

    The next major overhaul was in 1906 by Hele & Company of Plymouth, who added a fourth manual (the Solo). By this stage, the action of the organ was entirely pneumatic.

    Other work was completed on the organ in 1965–66, when J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd of London overhauled the soundboards, installed a new console with electropneumatic action, and lowered the pitch. The organ then had 4 manuals, 56 stops, and 3012 pipes.

    Starting in 2010 the organ builder Trevor Crowe was engaged to reconstruct and expand the organ, when it was supplemented with a west gallery nave division and tonal enhancements to the main instrument. This included a full length 32' extension to the pedal trombone. The work also involved a revised layout to enable the previously buried organ to sing unimpeded into the body of the cathedral. Crowe's layout improvements intended to overcome the obstacles of its subterranean location, and the west end nave division improves accompaniment to congregational hymns. Most of the choir organ is housed in an enclosure attached to the console, the lid of which can be raised or lowered electrically by the organist. At 88 speaking stops, it is now the largest organ on the island of Ireland.


  • 1677–1698 - William Love
  • 1698?–1703? - Thomas Hollister. (Assistant 1695)
  • 1703–1711 - William Toole
  • 1712–1720 - Edward Broadway
  • 1720–1777 - William Smyth
  • 1782–1796 - Henry De La Maine
  • 1797–1811 - James Roche
  • 1811–1860 - James Brealsford Stephens
  • 1860–1903 - John Christopher Marks
  • 1903–1922 - William George Everleigh
  • 1922–1977 - Jonathan Thomas Horne
  • 1977–1984 - Andrew Paul Padmore (afterwards organist of St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast)
  • 1984–2007 - Colin Gerald Nicholls
  • 2007–2015 - Malcolm Wisener (previously organist at St Bartholomew's Church, Dublin)
  • 2015–present - Peter Stobart
  • Burials

  • Richard Boyle (archbishop)
  • William Lyon (bishop)
  • References

    Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral Wikipedia