the work of J.J. McCarthy

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Nov 13, 2005 10:38 pm

Perhaps Paul Clerkin might be able to provide a picture of St. Macartan's before Joe Duffy was let loose on the building. I am told that a confessional in bee-hut form was subsequently introduced. While most would regard this as eccentric, not the good bishop who was eloquent about the early Irish penitentials and the monastic cells on Skellig Michael...... The architect in this case was Gerald MacCann, if memory serves me correctly.
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Nov 17, 2005 10:32 pm

The Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, boasts of being Ireland's only 19th century cathedral to have been built in the neo-romanesque style. Building commenced in 1865 to plans by JJ McCarthy who relied very heavily on North Italian or Lombard prototypes, modelling the facade on that of the Cathedral in Pisa, and, succeeding to some extent in conveying the spacial sense of the Cathedral complex in Pisa with his free standing baptistery and tower. The Cathedral was consecrated by Archbishop Croke on 22 June 1879. Archbishop Croke replaced JJ McCarthy with George C. Ashlin as architect for the remaining works which included the decoration of the interior on which no expense was spared. The ceiling, designed by Ashlin, was executed by Earley and Powell. The same company are also responsible for the galss and some of the sculpture work, the more important elements of which were executed by Pietro Lazzarini, Benzoni and Joseph O'Reilly. Mayer of Munich also supplied glass as well as Wailes of Newcastle. The most important item, however, in the Cathedral is the Ciborium of the Altar by Giacomo della Porta (1537-1602). This had originally been commissioned for the Gesù in Rome in 1582 by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. The same Giacomo della Porta built the dome of St. Peter's Basilica 1588/1590 and finished the lantern in 1603. The altar from the Gesù was acquired by Archbishop Leahy while in the City for the First Vatican Council in 1869/1870. Reordering work began here in 1979. The altar rails have given way in the face of a projection into the nave. Unbelievably, the High Altar has been dismantled and its mensa separated from the della Porta ciborium which is now relegated to an undescript plinth. The original stencilled work disappeared in 1973. As with Longford and the Pro Cathedral, the removal of the High Altar leaves the building without a focus, the present dimension and location of the Ciborium not being to the scale of the building. The temptation to hang banners in the apse has not been resisted.

It is difficult to ascertain the architect responsible for the current interior of Thurles Cathedral.
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Gianlorenzo » Thu Nov 24, 2005 12:33 am

Images of Thurles Cathedral of the Assumption.

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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Nov 24, 2005 1:05 am

Enclosed is a photograph of the Ciborium of the High Altar in Thurles, designed and executed by Giacomo della Porta in 1584 for the Gesù in Rome. The Altar was commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, nephew of Pope Paul III. Della Porta was the dominant architect in Rome for the last quarter of the 16th century and worked on all the major commissions in the City, most notably the building of the dome of St. Peter's between 1588 and 1590. He completed the project in 1602 by adding the lantern. He was a highly practical architect and influenced by Michelangelo's mannerism and Vignola's classicism.

The Ciborium is made up of a variety of antique marbles that includes giallo antico, roso antico and africano.

The mensa of the altar is of white carrara marble inlaid with malachite, lapis lazuli, rosso agate and other semi-precious materials. It has an arcaded praedella of 16 columns of which 6 are in yellow Siena, 6 in griotte, and 4 in vert campan. All columns have bases and capitals in bronze.

As with the reordering in the Pro-Cathedral, the Ciborium was removed from the High Altar and placed on a disproportioned plinth while the Altar mena was moved forward into the chancel. The sum total of the effect was to create a focal void in the sanctuary.

It is worth wondering whether Cashel followed the Pro-Cathedral or vice versa. Certainly, the designs for the reordering are remarkably similar. The idea of trying to improve on Turnerelli is, however, surpassed in Cashel with the absurd prospect of someone trying to "improve" on one of the great master of European civilization.
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Nov 29, 2005 5:05 pm

I would regard it as highly foolish of R. Hurley to have attempted anything like an antiphonal church arrangement in Maynooth of all places where he simply begs uncomplimentary contrast with JJ McCarthy's great Choir Chapel disposed in a true antiphonal fashion and architecturally articulating all of the main spaces to be included in a Catholic church -with the exception of the nave, which the circumstances of Maynooth College did not require. When one looks at the faux antiphonal pastiche and at the poor quality conception of the the furnishings of St. Mary's Oratory, one begins to realize that one is facing a true example of a misbegotten and malformed Bauhaus offspring (their unremembering hearts and heads, base born products of base beds ). The "explosion" of colour surrounding the tabernacle, for example, dwarfs into sham insignificance when one beholds the exquisite kaleidescope of colours of the glass in the lancet windows above and at either side of Kim En Joong's magnum horrendum, especially when seen in the declining light of a summer's afternoon. Clearly, neither the form or content of the tabernacle surround has any Christian significance whatsoever and could pass equally well, indeed better, in the departure lounge of a suburban bus depot. Was the provision of panelling along the northand south walls of the chapel a conscious effort to emulate the panelling in the College Chapel? If so, I am afraid that all it serves to illustrate is the sad decline in Irish architecture and craftsmanship over the past century for it is but a shodow of JJ McCarthy and the magnificent wood carving of the Monan Brothers from Dundalk to say nothing of the almost total intellectual demise of the Catholic Church in Ireland - even in those sciences which one would consider essential for the adequate execution of its mission. Truly, St. Mary's Oratory is a symbol but not, I am afraid, of what is officially propagandized.
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:48 am

St Macartan's Cathedral, Monaghan
Arguably McCarthy's masterwork....

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Ruined, the only trace of original stonework is a small stretch of railing at the old baptistry. The bishop rode roughshod over the people, and indeed a few years ago, I received an email from his secretary about a throw-away comment on the predesscor of these boards. I think Bishop Joseph Duffy is a tad touchy about it, and he has written several small booklets on the re-ordering to get his view across. None of these booklets have "before" pictiures - I have but I need to scan them first. As a kid I was entranced by the mass of victorian ironwork dividing the four side altars from the high altar, the massive ornate canopy over the Cathedra and the fabulous pulpit a third the way down the nave. All gone. Even the wooden confessionals which were ten-a-penny victorian were sadly removed. There was also some fabulous cast iron radiator covers to the rear of the church. Everything ruined.

By bringing the altar out into the crossing, they actually reduced the capacity of the church considerably - I must scan a plan and show the old versus the new.

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The reordering completely detracts from the verticiality of the space and the forest of columns in the area of the crossing. It does not draw the eye to the fabulous hammerbeam roof nor to the apse when standing at the western entrances. It is non-descript. And it seems that since I was last there, they have added to the carpet collection in the apse. Originally it was one, which was acceptable because it attracted the eye to the end, now it looks like a rural hotel lobby. Are tapestrys the new stained glass?


The only thing they did right, was restore the organ, a magnificently overbearing and pompous instrument
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:21 am

The Church of Sts Peter and Paul Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, by JJ, McCarthy 1878.
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:27 am

The Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, JJ. McCarthy, 1879
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:50 am

The Church of Sts. peter and Paul, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, JJ. McCarthy, 1879, exterior:
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:36 pm

Finally, I have located a photograph of the interior of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, as it was intended by JJ. McCarthy. There is some difference between this and what replaced it; and even between this and what replaced that. Also included, is a photograph of the full horror!

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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:02 pm

JJ. McCarthy's plans for Monaghan Cathedral, 1861

Unlike the arcades in St. Saviour's, Dominick's Street, and in the College Chapel in Maynooth, Monaghan Cathedral managed to complete the arcade with statues. Can anyone identify the subjects and the sculptor?
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:36 pm

They were imported from Italy as far as I know, and are mostly irish saints and local bishops - the one at the far right is Donnelly, who finished the cathedral (or maybe McNally who commissioned it, cannot remember) - you can see that he is cradling a model of the cathedral. The arcade is quite high up on the elevation to the N2

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there is a similar arcade on the northern side
http://community.webshots.com/photo/519397519/519412454NvnvAB


There were also a number of statues on plinths indoors - John the Baptist, st patrick, and two I cannot remember; gone... god knows where... all carrera marble, they stood at the foot of columns at the crossing and where the side chapels met the transepts

recently the statie of st macartan out front has been replaced with a more modern style statue

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http://www.clogherdiocese.ie/cathedral/

I must get something from home - when I was in school, I drew up all the elevations of the cathedral and any extant pieces of the original interior (some of which has since disappeared).
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:23 am

Some very interesting pieces of information from the Clogher diocesan site:


The Diocese of Clogher
St Macartan's Cathedral
The Sanctuary


A radical rearrangement and refurbishing of the Cathedral was begun in 1982 to meet
the requirements of the revised Liturgy. The artist responsible for this general
scheme has been Michael Biggs of Dublin, in consultation with local architect
Gerald MacCann.


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The Sanctuary (Photo by Manuel Lavery)

To encourage maximum participation by the entire congregation in the celebration
of the Eucharist, the altar is given pride of place in the crossing, just at the
point where, because of the deliberate absence of stained glass in the rose
windows of the transepts and in certain other high-level windows, the natural
light of day is brighest and most concentrated. The altar is carved from a single
piece of granite from south County Dublin. As an integral piece of natural stone
it suggests the primeval offering of sacrifice. Its carefully-wrought carving
humanises that concept, so that this great rock is transformed into a table,
inviting the worshipper to partake of the sacred meal in communion with the
Lord.

On two curved platforms to each side of the altar and a little behind it stand
the ambo to the north and a cantor's lectern to the south. The design and
material of the ambo follow those of the altar, but its basic form is that
of a reading-desk rather than a table. The wooden-topped lectern is of more
modest proportions and dispenses with the curved contours characteristic of
the major elements.

The third of these liturgical elements is the bishop's chair (whose outline,
as seen from the front, is for the most part an exact inversion of the ambo).
This stands in a central presiding position, raised ten steps above floor level,
in the vertex of the apse. In spite of its great distance from the altar, the
sense of a unified grouping is undiminished. A wooden back is inset into the
chair, and into this in turn a gilt-bronze roundel or medallion bearing the
inscription: HAEC EST SEDES EPISCOPALIS CLOGHERENSIS
('This is the seat of the Bishop of Clogher').



The altar, ambo and bishop's chair as well as the baptismal font, were carved
by the designer Michael Biggs.

The chair is flanked on either side by a semi-circlular bench for concelebrants,
to denote the unity of the priesthood with the bishop. This arrangement of
chair and bench was traditional in early Roman stational churches.

There are two other smaller fixed seats nearer the altar, designed in the same
mode as the lectern; one as an alternative seat for a priest who may be
presiding; the other a ceremonial place of honour for a guest.

The steps, in solid Travertine marble, are arranged to highlight each of the
three liturgical elements in turn - the altar, ambo and chair - and to
clarify the relationship which exists between them as a whole.

The sanctuary crucifix is by Richard Enda King. The cross is of Irish oak,
and the upright, a single piece, rises 15 feet from the floor. The figure
of Christ, calm and compassionate, is cast in bronze. The wood, in contrast,
is given a softened textural finish to heighten its organic nature as the
living cross of Jesus Christ in the world today. The crucifix is the gift
of John Finley of Boca Raton, Florida.


Image

The Sanctuary Crucifix (Photo by Manuel Lavery)
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:18 pm

The enclosed article from the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society on ST. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, is most illuminating with regard to one of the objectives of the 1980s "re-ordering": a "return to JJ. McCarthy's original concept". That sounds all too familiarily like Cathal O'Neill's plans for a return to E.W. Pugin's original conception for Cobh Cathedral - backed up by an ahistorical use of archival material. Can we hope that O'Neill will be any more successful in Cobh than MacCormack, his modernist counterpart, was in Armagh?

BUILDINGS OF CO ARMAGH
[Extracts from Buildings of Co Armagh by C E B Brett, published by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society in 1999.]

ImageImage
St Patrick's (R C) Cathedral, Armagh

This is a most curious example of a very important building which changes both architect, and architectural style, half way up the walls. The bottom half was designed in 1838, in the English Perpendicular Gothic style, by Thomas Duff of Newry; the top half designed in 1853, in the French Decorated Gothic style, by J J McCarthy of Dublin. And just to complicate matters, the interior decor, applied to the conflicting structures of these two architects, is in part to the 1904 designs of Ashlin & Coleman of Dublin, in part to the 1972 designs of McCormick, Tracey and Mullarkey of Londonderry.

The result, unsurprisingly, is a disappointing muddle, quite lacking in the unity and integrity to be expected in a building of such importance (though Father Coleman, in 1900, surprisingly, thought that "the whole structure ... shows a striking unity of design"). Of course many other cathedrals have grown and changed over long spans of years and changes of mastermind; but it makes an instructive contrast with its English counterpart, Westminster Cathedral, built to the designs of J F Bentley for Cardinal Vaughan between 1894 and 1903.

It is interesting that on 3 February, 1840, the Building Committee, "His Grace the Primate in the Chair, resolved unanimously that Mr. Duff be appointed our architect; and resolved, that Mr. Duff is to receive five per cent of the full amount expended on the building of the cathedral for his superintendence of the work, and that he will give the Committee one per cent as his subscription thereto". Galloway suggests that his success at the Roman Catholic cathedral of St Patrick and St Colman in Newry, dedicated in 1829, "probably led to the commission to design the cathedral at Armagh". Unlike his former partner, Thomas Jackson, Duff was himself a Roman Catholic. According to the 1905 Guide, in Duff's lifetime "34 feet of the walls were built for £26,000, Dr Crolly himself personally supervising the work with the assistance of several foremen".

The explanation for the original change of style is, that building was interrupted in 1844 by famine and cholera; Duff himself died in 1848; it was only in 1853 that a new Building Committee settled with his widow for £100 cash down, and the return of all drawings and papers relating to the commission. Work under the new architect did not actually begin until 1854. McCarthy had attacked Duff's work in the Irish Catholic Magazine in 1847, but he was stuck with the ground-plan, as the walls had reached the tops of the aisle windows, but without tracery. "He completely changed the appearance of Duff's design by getting rid of the pinnacles on the buttresses, the battlemented parapets on nave and aisles, and by making the pitch of the roof steeper" (Sheehy); also by introducing flowing tracery and numerous carved details. Maurice Craig comments, dryly, "Characteristically, he altered the style from Perpendicular to Decorated, so that the spectator must support the absurdity of "fourteenth-century" works standing on top of "sixteenth-century" (except for the tracery which was harmonised); but in most ways it is a very successful building". It was dedicated in 1873.

The sacristy, synod hall, grand entrance, gates and sacristan's lodge were built later (Galloway says, sexton's lodge and gateway in 1887, sacristy and synod hall between 1894 and 1897), to the designs of William Hague, and he was "engaged on the designs for the great rood screen behind the high altar when he died in March, 1899. Mr. Hague's work was taken up by Mr. McNamara of Dublin who subsequently superintended the designing and building of the rood screen, the beautiful Celtic tracery of the mosaic passages and floors, and the complex heating and ventilating system". Further very extensive interior work was undertaken between 1900 and 1905 for Archbishop Logue to the designs of Ashlin & Coleman of Dublin. The cathedral was reconsecrated in 1903. A great deal of this excellent work has been removed.

St Patrick's cathedral, with its twin spires, stands tall on its hill-top, successfully out-soaring its squatter Protestant rival on the opposite hill. It looks its best from a distance, approached over the drumlin country to south and west, reminiscent, when the light is right, of the twin spires of Chartres dominating the rolling plain of the Ile de France. Stephen Gwynn wrote of it in 1906: "Today Ireland is full of churches, all of them built within a hundred years - and almost every church, let it be clearly understood, is crowded to the limit of its capacity with worshippers. But here at Armagh is the greatest monument of all - planted as if in defiance so as to dominate the country round and outface that older building on the lesser summit: the costliest church that has been erected within living memory in Ireland; and not that only. It is in good truth a monument not of generous wealth (like the two great cathedrals of Christ Church and St. Patrick's in Dublin) but of devoted poverty: the gift not of an individual but of a race, out of money won laboriously by the Catholic Irish at home and in the far ends of the world ... So viewed, I question whether modern Christianity can show anything more glorious: yet in other aspects the new St. Patrick's Cathedral must sadden the beholder. The stone of which it is hewn, as the money that paid for the hewing, is Irish: but the ideas which shaped the fabric are pure Italian..."

Externally, its best features are the twin broached spires, the great traceried seven-light west window, and the arcade with the eleven apostles above the central porch. Internally, its best feature is now the very high hammer-beam roof with a winged angel at each angle. Formerly, it was the marvellous lacy and frothy high altar, screen pulpit and rails of white Caen stone, all the work of Ashlin & Coleman; but these were unhappily ripped out and simply discarded in the re-ordering after Vatican II: two of the beautifully-carved crockets stand on my window-ledge to this day, having been rescued from the dump by the late Kenneth Adams. This was justified at the time on the grounds that "the fine character of the interior was marred by the later introduction of screens, elaborate altar rails and pulpit": and what the architects set out to achieve was "a return to JJ McCarthy's original concept ... They recommended a simplification of the interior, which would also add a greater formality to ceremony". If these were the objectives, few people think they have been successfully achieved. The new fittings already appear dated, and are utterly incongruous. "Neither the quality of the replacements nor the skill of the craftsmanship can disguise the total alienation of the new work from the spirit and meaning that was McCarthy's ecclesiological and architectural inspiration. In this setting, these modern intrusions appear dispassionate and irrelevant" (UAHS, 1992). Jeanne Sheehy acidly records "the replacement ... of a fine late Gothic revival chancel with chunks of granite and a tabernacle that looks like a microwave". It is hard to divine why the church in Ireland has proved to be so much more insensitive in such matters than in most other countries.

However, one must agree with Galloway's sympathetic summing up: "Ignoring the work at the crossing, which now has an empty feeling, this great cruciform cathedral has much beauty ... The great height, the exquisite perfection of architectural detail, and the caring decoration of every surface of the walls ... uplifts the heart and mind ... although the building has a soaring loftiness, there is not a trace of gloom. This is Gothic Revival at its very best."

Photographs: Michael O'Connell (see also colour-plate VIb)...
Situation: Cathedral Road, Armagh; td, Corporation; Parish, and District Council, Armagh; Grid ref H 873 457.

Reference: Listed A (15/20/20); in conservation area. Gallogly, 'History of St. Patrick's Cathedral', 1880, passim; Stuart, 'City of Armagh' (ed. Coleman), 1900, p 443; Guidebook, 1905, Appendix A; Gwynn, 'Fair hills of Ireland', 1906, p 118; Sheehy, 'J. J. McCarthy', UAHS, ]977, pp 39-42; Craig, 'Architecture of Ireland', 1982, p 294; O Fiaich, 'St Patrick's Cathedral', 1987, passim; 'Ulster Architect', June/July 1990, p 58; 'Buildings of Armagh', UAHS, 1992, pp 70-76, and see the detailed bibliography on the latter page; Galloway, 'Cathedrals of Ireland', 1992, pp 17-20, 185; J Sheehy, in 'Irish arts review', XIV, 1998, p 185; copy minutes of Building Committee, in MBR.
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:42 pm

St. Mary's Church, Rathkeale, Co. Limerick. (1866-1881)

cf. Dublin Builder, 1 May 1866, p. 119
15 November 1866, p. 270
Irish Builder, 15 April 1881, p. 126

Like nearby Kilmallock, this church was also built by JJ. McCarthy. Like Kilmallock, it has suffered from the same unwelcome attention doled out to Sts. Peter and Paul's in Kilmallock:


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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Jan 15, 2006 2:44 am

St. Mary's in Dingle, Co. Kerry, by JJ. McCarthy 1862.

In terms of utter vandalism, what happened at St. Mary's in Dingle manages to surpass even Killarney Cathedral. The original church had a nave and aisles divided by an arcade on pillars - all of which have been demolished. The external wall were also demolished to below the level of the clerstory. The worst was reserved for the west elevation which had its attic and upper ranges demolished. The result looks not too dissimilar from the Notekirchen built on the ruins on churches throughout Germany after the war. Just how could such have happened?


Image Image

This is what the interior used to look like:

Image

Image
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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:00 am

St. James's, Killorglin, Co. Kerry, by JJ. McCarthy (1860)

The interior gives an idea of what was in St. Mary's in Dingle before the partial demolition of both interior and exterior of that church by the bold Eamonn Casey.

Fortunately, it appears still to be intact.


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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:17 am

St. Brendan's, Ardfert, Co. Kerry, JJ. McCarthy (1851)


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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:28 am

St. John's, Tralee, Co. Kerry, JJ. McCarthy (1860) reflecting A.W.N. Pugin's St. Giles at Cheadle


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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:54 am

St. Joseph's, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, JJ. McCarthy begun 1861, finiished by C.J. McCarthy 1882


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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:57 am

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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:40 pm

Maynooth College Chapel, JJ. McCarthy (1875-1880), interior completed by Hague.

Among many notable features, the most important of the internal features is the oak Choir stalls.
The interior has survived except for the Lady Chapel which had the mensa of its altar removed from the rerdos by the Ramta specialist former president Michael Ledwith. This was to facilitate the "active participation" of American benefactors who hear Mass in the small chapel in pairs.

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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:55 pm

St. Saviour's, Dominick St., Dublin, JJ. McCarthy (1852)


This was probably JJ. McCarthy's finest Dublin church.

This is what the interior has been reduced to:

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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:36 pm

St. Kevin's Church, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, JJ. McCarthy, 1846


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Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals - St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Jan 18, 2006 2:47 am

St. Michael's, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, by JJ. McCarthy (1846) consecrated by Cardinal Wiseman in 1858.

Therailing and gates in front of the church by W.G. Byrne, Dublin, 1919.

Damaged by fire in July, 2001 and subsequently restored but I am not certain what that might mean. I am inclined to suspect the worst.


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A la recherche du temps retrouvé !

Cardinal Wiseman in Ballinasloe
From a Contemporary Record By Samuel J. Maguire
Preparations for Visit

On Tuesday morning, the 24th August, 1858, Cardinal Wiseman left the Broadstone terminus for Ballinasloe, accompanied by the Right Rev. Dr. MacNally, Bishop of Clogher; the Bishop of Elphin, the Bishop of Cloyne, the Rev. E.L. Clifford, the Hon. and Right Rev. Monsignor Talbot, Mr. Wiseman the Rev. William Derry, P.P., Eyrecourt; theRev. Mr. Bannon, Captain Bellew, and several other clergymen and gentlemen, who intended to be present at the consecration of the Church of St. Michael, Ballinasloe. Anxious preparation had been made by the Bishop of Clonfert and by the Town Commissioners. At almost every station along the line, crowds of people gathered who cheered loudly, and evinced the utmost happiness at seeing the Cardinal.

"On the approach of the train to Ballinasloe, the interposition of the clergy became necessary to moderate the enthusiasm of the people, who pressed forward, not without danger to their lives, and, as the train rolled slowly alongside the platform, the cheering was vehement."

Among these on the platform were:- The Lord Bishop of Clonfert; Rev. Sir Christopher Bellew, Bart., S.J.; Rev. Malachy Green, P.P., Clontuskert; Rev. Wm. Manning P.P., Aughrim; Rev. Mr. Mc Gauran, P.P., Ahascragh; Rev. Mr. Kirwan, R.C.A., Ballinasloe; Rev. Dr. O' Brien, President of St. Jarlath's College, Tuam; Rev. M. Walsh, P.P.,Lusmagh; Rev. MR. Egan, P.P., Cloghan; Rev. W. King, P.P., Rev. Mr. Mc Namara, C.C., Rev. Garrett Dillon, Castleblakeney; Rev. W. Larkin; Rev. J. Moone, P.P.; Menlo; Rev. John Macklin, P.P., Rev. James Hynes; Rev. Michael Callahan, P.P., Kiltulla; Rev. M. Galvin, C.C., Rev. Mr. Pelley; Dr. Burke, ex-chairman, Town Commissioners of Ballinasloe; George Crowe, Esq., Aughrim; Robert Bodkin, Esq.; William Hynes, T.C.; Michael Finnerty T.C.; Timothy Egan, T.C.; John O' Shaughnessy, Esq., Birchgrove; Hugh O' Kelly, Esq., Woodmount; Francis E. Madden Esq., William Costelloe, Esq., Junius Horan, Esq.,Jeffrey Prendergast Esq., Dr. Colahan; Thomas Hyde, Esq., Solicitor, T.C.; Patrick Ward, T.C.; John Heenan T.C.; Wm. O' Shaughnessy, Merchant; Robert N. Smith, Esq., T.C. (Western Star); Thomas Carroll, T.C.; William Laghey, Merchant; Garrett Larkin Esq., Cruagh House. Also on the platform were several Protestant gentlemen of the town.

The carriage of Captain Bellew was in waiting and His Eminence, having been conducted to it by the Bishop of Clonfert and Mr. Bellew, took his seat with the Bishop of Clogher and Monsignor Talbot, amid incessant cheering. The carriage went at a slow pace in the direction of the town, proceeded by the multitude carrying flags and green boughs, and followed by a long line of carriages and vehicles of various descriptions. The windows of almost every house in the line of route were occupied by ladies, who waved handkerchiefs and banners as His Eminence passed. When the procession had reached about half way into the town, the horses were removed from the carriage in which His Eminence sat, and he was drawn in triumph through the streets. At various points large poles were elevated, from which floated banners and ribbons; and across the street in which Gill's hotel is situated, garlands of green boughs were suspended, intertwined with flowers, from a central point of which hung a banner bearing the inscription "Welcome Cardinal Wiseman, to Ballinasloe."

Opposition to Visit
The displeasure of the Irish Church Mission Society at the triumphant visit of the Cardinal, and the violent efforts of the parties composing it to do something to make an appearance, were manifested by various ludicrous circumstances. Walking through the town, the attention of a stranger was attracted by observing here and there on the walls large placards setting forth in imposing type that the society would give the sum of 40,000 to any person or persons who would prove the Catholic rule of faith, and specially inviting His Eminence to claim that sum by complying with this requirement of the society. Members of the society, well know for their controversial harangues in Townsend-Street (Dublin), came down specially. A letter signed by sixteen Protestant clergymen, challenging him to a public discussion, was forwarded to him.

An incident which occurred on the arrival of His Eminence at the railway station is worthy of mention as indicating the dismay which the visit of His Eminence caused in the minds of a few, who are not at all sympathized with by the respectable Protestants of the place. As the Cardinal was proceeding from the train to the carriage which was in waiting for him, amidst the cheers of the crowd, there appeared at the window of a second class carriage a pale face, every feature of which was quivering with emotion. It was that of a person who judging from his general appearance was a clergyman of the Church of England, and who was understood to protest, in the most excited manner, "as a British subject, and a member of the church as by law established, against the introduction into this country of Popish ceremonies." The gentleman continued to talk a great deal, and to shake his head very energetically, as if he felt what he said; but, fortunately for himself, nobody, save one or two who were pressed by the crowd against the carriage which he occupied, heard a word of his address. The multitude passed on, cheering as they went, and in a second, that very foolish gentleman was left alone ... It is proper however, to state that the respectable Protestants of the neighbourhood altogether disclaimed any connection with such offensive proceedings.

The streets were crowded by the inhabitants, not only of the town but of the country around. Numbers of respectable persons came from distant places in order to attend the ceremony next day. The town was brilliantly illuminated, and although a few houses were in darkness, they were so few that the circumstance served to show, more strikingly, the universality of this tribute of respect to His Eminence. The majority of the windows were also decorated with flowers ... Chinese lamps were hung out at favourable points in the open air, and thousands continued in the street through the town till near midnight. Several more prelates arrived, including the Archbishop of Tuam and the Bishop of Galway.

Consecration of the Church of St. Michael
The consecration of the Church of St. Michael, Ballinasloe, took place on Wednesday 25th August, 1858, and from the nature of the circumstances connected with it, was perhaps the most remarkable religious ceremonial in this country for over three hundred years. The Church, to the erection of which the faithful people of the district had contributed from their humble means during several years, is a graceful structure. Many bishops and hundreds of clergy came from various parts of the country to assist at the rite of consecration; the people gathered in thousands, and an illustrious member of the Sacred College - the first of that body who had been enabled to officiate in this country for centuries, made the occasion memorable by his presence. On the morning of the ceremony, from an early hour, the roads leading into Ballinasloe were thronged by carriages and by foot passengers. The streets were so crowded that it was with difficulty a man could make his way from one point to another. The shops were closed and all business was suspended. Special trains were run on the Midland Railway.

The ceremony of consecration, which is not of frequent occurrence in Ireland, is lengthy and impressive. It was performed by the Bishop of Clonfert. The general congregation was not admitted until eleven o'clock. The arrangements were excellent, and were efficiently carried out by the gentlemen who acted as stewards at the different doors and throughout the interior. The bishops present were: The Archbishop of Tuam, the Bishop of Clonfert, the Bishop of Elphin, the Bishop of Ardagh, the Bishop of Clogher, the Bishop of Cloyne, the Bishop of Kilmacduagh, the Bishop of Ross, the Bishop of Galway, and the Coadjutor Bishop (elect) of Killaloe. There were nearly four hundred clergy present, including M. L'Abb Cruise of Paris, one of the Emperor's (Napoleon III) chaplains (the Abbe was connected by birth with Ballinasloe).

There was a very large assemblage of the Catholic gentry of the county in the nave. Among those present were:- Lord Ffrench; Pierce Joyce, Esq., High Sheriff; Sir Thomas Burke, Bart M.P.;Sir Thomas N. Redington, K.C.B. and Lady Redington, Charles Farrell, J.P., Dalystown; James Smith, Esq., Masonbrook; Captain Thomas Bellew; Robert D'Arcy, J.P. Woodville; Oliver Dolphin, Jun., Tervoe; Edmund Donnellan, Esq., Hillswood; P. M. Lynch, Renmore Park; Captain Eyre; Edward Brown, Coloo; D., Bodkin, Esq., Annagh; The High Sheriff of the Town of Galway. J. Daly, Esq., Castledaly; Cornelius O'Kelly, Esq., Gallagh; James Blake, Esq., Ardfry; Ambrose O' Kelly, Esq., Fairfield; Charles Bianconi, Esq.,Patrick O' Kelly of Craron; John Blake, Esq., Cregg, Richard Kelly, Esq., J.P., Chairman of the Town Commissioners, Tuam; P. Blake, Esq., Bayview; John M. O' Hara Esq., Sub-Sheriff; Matthew Ryan, Esq., Mullagh, Thomas Macklin, Esq., Loughrea; Garett Larkin, Esq., Coolanny; Major Cruise; Michael Mc Dermott, Rahamore; John Blake; Esq., Fertagh; John Blake Esq., J.P., Tintrim; J. O' Kelly, Gurtray; Thomas Coen, Esq., Manchester; Geoffrey Prendergast, Esq., William Costelloe.

Ilaria's Mass was sung by a choir of clergymen, "assisted by some accomplished amateur vocalists," under the direction of C.B. Lyons, Esq., Secretary to the Archbishop of Dublin. The choir included the Rev. Geroge Harold, Dublin; Rev. Mr. Hampson, Lusk; Rev. Michael Mullaly of St. Mary, Star of the Sea; Rev. Mr. McManus, St. Nicholas of Myra, Francis-street; Rev. Mr. Daniel, St. Catherine's, Meath-street; the Very Rev. Dr. Dunne, President of Carlow College; Rev. Dr. McManus of St. Laurence O' Toole's Seminary, Harcourt-street; and Rev. Mr. Beardwood.

A year after his visit to Ireland the Cardinal stated:

"It may be well, in order to remove prejudice, and correct some false impressions, to state why I went to Ireland. And the narrative will be very brief and very simple. In the course of last spring, I received a letter from a bishop in the West of Ireland, telling me that in a town in his diocese, in a town circumstanced as many others are in Ireland, with its whole property belonging to an adverse landlord, but where the population was almost to a man Catholic, a large and beautiful church had been raised, almost entirely by the unaided efforts of the people; that he thought this was an occasion when the appearance of a bishop from another country, and one circumstanced as I happen to be, would be encouraging to those poor people; that it would give them a feeling of additional satisfaction in the efforts which they had made; and that it would somewhat encourage them to bear up against the constant opposition which they met with in all their efforts to raise their heads a little above the level to which they had been depressed. I reflected and soon concluded that this was an occasion worthy of any one's embracing, who loved to do good among the poor...."
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