Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:43 pm

I am starting this thread in an attempt to catalogue as many as possible of the works of this important early 19th. century Cork architect. So, if any one can add to the list it would be greatly appreciated.

Michael Augustine O'Riordan, was born in Doneraile, Co. Cork circa 1780. He was a remarkable man by any standards. Educated in the neo-classical style, he worked extensively in Cork City and County. Some of his churches include the North Chapel in Cork i.e. the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Anne (1808), Blackrock Village (1818), Doneraile (1827), Millstreet (1836), Bantry (1837), Kinsale (1838), and Dunmanway (1841). In 1826, at the age of 42, he made profession as a Presentation Brother. Along with continuing building churches, convents and schools throughout Cork, he spent his time teaching in the schools for poor run by the brothers.

In addition to the above, I would add the old parish church in Charleville (1812), converted for use as a parish hall following the building of the new parish church in 1900; Ballyhea (1818); and Kilavullen (1839).
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:55 pm

St. Patrock's church Fermoy, Co. Cork, may also be attributable to Michael Augustine O'Riordan. The church was built c. 1817 in the classical style. In the 1860/70s the classical building was internally and externally gothicized by G.E. Ashlin.

Image
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:25 pm

The alumni association of the Presentation Brothers has published this interesting biography of Br. O'Riordan:



Image




Br. Michael Augustine Riordan



Michael Riordan was born in the parish of Doneraile, Co. Cork, in 1783 or 1784. It is likely that his family were well off and that he received a good elementary education at a local hedge-school. It is believed he studied architecture in Cork under the father of Sir Thomas Deane. The parish church in his native Doneraile is but one of many buildings Michael Riordan designed .
Michael was already a practising architect and builder when he joined the Society of the Presentation in the North Monastery, probably in 1814, being thenceforth known as Br. Augustine or Br. Austin.

In 1822 at a Chapter held in Mount Sion, Waterford, the Brothers of the Society of the Presentation voted to accept the Brief of Pope Pius VII amalgamating all the communities under a central authority as a Pontifical Congregation. Br. Edmund Rice, founder of the congregation, was elected Superior General and new Constitutions and a new name, the Irish Christian Brothers, were adopted. Bishop Murphy of Cork saw in the acceptance of the Brief of Pius VII a rejection of his own authority and used all his influence to persuade the Cork Brothers to resist this move. He made a particularly personal appeal to Brother Augustine to remain under his jurisdiction. Most of the Brothers in the North Monastery accepted the new Constitutions, but Br. Augustine and it is believed one other Brother whose name is not recorded, decided to continue to follow the original Presentation rule. Eventually, in 1826, they left the North Monastery and went to reside in accommodation they shared with the priests of St. Finbar's South Parish.

On Monday 2 July 1827 Br. Augustine and his companions opened a temporary school in a disused corn store in Cat Lane, off Barrack Street, Cork. In the announcement at Masses the previous Sunday it was noted that the building was capable of accommodating 600 children. Later the school moved to a new premises, built by Br. Augustine, attached to the South Monastery, Douglas Street.

Br. Augustine continued his architectural work for several years . He was involved in drawing up plans for Catholic churches, convents and schools in the dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Kerry. Among his buildings are the chapel and extension to the Ursuline Convent, Blackrock, Cork (1827); the school at South Monastery, Douglas Street; Saint Michael's Church, Blackrock; churches in Dunmanway, Ovens, Bantry, Kinsale, Skibbereen, Rosmore, and Millstreet. The churches in Rosscarberry and Castletown-Kenneigh are also attributed to him. He built a school in Cobh for Bishop Coppinger. The annals of the Presentation Convent, Clonmel record how he travelled to Cork every Saturday evening, coming back to Clonmel on Monday mornings, while the convent was being built.

All this work was done by Br. Augustine in addition to his other duties as Superior of the South Monastery and superintending two schools, the South Monastery school and the Lancasterian school. It is probable that much of the actual supervision was done during school holidays and at weekends.

Little is known about Br. Augustine's private life. He left no diaries or personal papers though there are some manuscripts of the Presentation Rule in his handwriting. But he was a man of talent and ability and evidently had great leadership qualities who drew other remarkable men, Br. Paul Townsend and Br.Francis Scannell among them, to collaborate with him .

Br. Augustine's younger brother Charles, some 14 years his junior, entered the Brothers in 1821 and spent some time with Edmund Rice in Waterford. He was professed in 1824 and spent ten years with the Christian Brothers but then joined Br. Augustine in the South Monastery. Thus he was a significant 'bridge' between the two congregations. The first indication of Br. Augustine's declining health comes in a letter written on 31 December 1846 by Charles Riordan - known in the community as Br. Bernard - to Br. Paul Townsend who was superior in Killarney. The letter mentions Br. Augustine's 'state of depression of spirits, the consequence of his illness.....' and asks Br. Paul to visit the South Monastery without delay.

A year later, on 20 January 1848, Br. Augustine died. His remains lie in the Brothers' vault in the grounds of what is now the South Presentation Convent of the Sacred Heart, formerly the South Monastery, where Br. Augustine lived from the time of his departure from the North Monastery twenty two years earlier. He is remembered as a dedicated teacher and an architect of note, but especially as the humble Brother who preserved the Presentation way of life.

Reference:
Gentlemen of the Presentation (Feheney, Veritas, 1999) Annals, South Monastery
The Presentation Brother, D.H.Allen FPM (Private publication)
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:02 pm

Praxiteles has decided to see just how much of Micahel Augustin [O'] Riordan's oeuvre is extant . So far the results have not been very encouraging.

St. John the Baptist, Kinsale, Co. Cork (c. 1820)

One of his most beauiful (fairly) extant pieces is the church of St. John the Baptist in Kinsale, Co. Cork. It was recently restored and one can see the quality of the advice supplied to the parish. Jack Coughlan and Co. were the conservation architects and have done an excellent job.

Notable features of the church are the glazing bars of the windows which appear to be original (and are very similar to those of the French Church in Cork City). The galleries is also unusual features and a fine monument to a former Parish priest by John Hogan.

Of real interest is the beautiful classical retable of the altar. O'Rirodan seems to specialized in a tripartite serliana retable supported by fluted corinthian columns, and incorporating (usually) three picture, the arch surmounted by a cross. Kinsale is fortunate to have this feature still intact and besutifully restored. Clearly O'Riordan was more than aware of Sebastiano Serlio's Architettura (1537-1575) which promoted the form which may have originated with Bramante

The plaster ceiling is also quite fine and incorporates a wealth of classical details.

Unfortunately, Praxiteles does not have a photograph of the exterior of the church and would appreciate were anyone able to supply one.

Image
Attachments
DSCN0301.JPG
DSCN0301.JPG (55.82 KiB) Viewed 10445 times
DSCN0302.JPG
DSCN0302.JPG (51.09 KiB) Viewed 10436 times
DSCN0303.JPG
DSCN0303.JPG (39.2 KiB) Viewed 10388 times
DSCN0304.JPG
DSCN0304.JPG (43.6 KiB) Viewed 10352 times
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Aug 06, 2006 11:19 pm

Old Parish Church, Chapel Lane, Charleville, Co. Cork, (1812).

This large rectangular monocameral church in the classical style was built in 1812 and served the parish of Charleville until 1902 when replaced by the present neo-gothic parish church. Since then, it has served as a parochial hall. It has been almost completely denuded of its interior while some of its exterior has been clad in modern poorly built service wings.

Effectively, all that is left of the building is its facade which is crowned by a truly beautiful bellcote supported by ionic columns. Relatively recently, the original gating and pallasiding have been removed.

I am not sure that this building has been placed on the register of protected structures. Could anybody check thta point, please?
Attachments
August06 001.jpg
August06 001.jpg (72.81 KiB) Viewed 10329 times
August06 002.jpg
August06 002.jpg (59.36 KiB) Viewed 10306 times
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Aug 06, 2006 11:29 pm

Ballyhea, Charleville, Co. Cork (1818)

The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin

This large country church is again monocameral and in a simpler classical idiom. The church was extensively gutted during the 1970s and lost most of its interior fittings including galleries, rails and supulchral monuments - this latter seems to have been some form of damnatio memoriae. The original glass and glazing bars were removed and new windows installed.

The ceiling was lowered and, incedeibly, a false ceiling installed.

The tripartite retable, however, managed to survive with only minor damage done to it. The cross on the pinacle of the arch having been removed to accomodate the new ceiling.

The exterior has also suffered in the 1970s "restoration" and the main facade has been partially clad in the most domestic of door porches.
Attachments
August06 008.jpg
August06 008.jpg (76.88 KiB) Viewed 10300 times
August06 009.jpg
August06 009.jpg (60.15 KiB) Viewed 10279 times
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Aug 06, 2006 11:41 pm

Doneraile, Co. Cork (1827)

Michael Augustine O'Riordan built this church in his native parish in 1827. The facade has survived along with much of the original interior fittings. Here the retable is the exception. It was replaced in the late 19th century by the PArish Priest, Stephen Ashlin, an uncle of G.C. Ashlin. Somethig of its original form has been retained in the wall mural.

In his visitation register of 1828, Bishop Michael Collins (1827-31) noted: "The old chapel will soon be abandoned, a new one 130 feet long by 49 broad having been erected, and likely to be soon fit to receive the people. It will be one of the most splendid chapels in the diocese when finished".

The church has a vast plaster ceiling with some excellent stucco work. Originally lamps depended from the centres of the large roundels. Alas, these have been replaced with a lighting system more commonly encountered in garages.
Attachments
August06 010.jpg
August06 010.jpg (53.15 KiB) Viewed 10223 times
August06 011.jpg
August06 011.jpg (50.83 KiB) Viewed 10231 times
August06 012.jpg
August06 012.jpg (57.02 KiB) Viewed 10208 times
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:39 am

The Pro-Cathedral of Si. Patrick, Skibbereen, Co. Cork built in 1825.
Attachments
Skibb_facade.jpg
Skibb_facade.jpg (18.83 KiB) Viewed 10479 times
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Aug 08, 2006 10:00 am

St. Michael's Church in Blackrock was built in 1821. It was destroyed by fire prior to 1964 when the present replacement was built. Images of the old church in Blackrock appear to be difficult to find. Should anyone have one, perhaps they might like to post it.

Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of 1837 states teh following re. old St. Michael's in Blackrock, Cork: "The R. C. chapel, erected in 1821, is a large and handsome building, and is a chapel of ease to the parochial chapel of St. Finbarr, or the South chapel: it was begun at the private expense of the late Dean Collins, aided by a subscription of £300, and was completed and elegantly fitted up by means of a bequest of £1100 from the late T. Rochford, Esq., of Garretstown, part of which, in 1834, was expended in the erection of a house for the officiating priest near the chapel".
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Aug 09, 2006 9:36 am

St. Patrick's Church, Dunmanway, Co. Cork (1831)

Image Image

Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of 1837 mentions simply that: "There is a R. C. chapel in progress of erection, at an estimated expense of £2500".

The attachment shows the church in Dunmanway c. 1930.
Attachments
Dunmanway.jpg
Dunmanway.jpg (34.68 KiB) Viewed 10573 times
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Aug 09, 2006 9:45 am

St, John the Baptist, Ovens, Co. Cork (1832 or 1835)

Image

Lewis' Topographical Dictionary states: "the chapel, erected in 1835, is a handsome edifice of hewn limestone, in the mixed Gothic and Grecian styles of architecture".
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Aug 09, 2006 10:05 am

St. Finbarr's, Bantry, Co. Cork (1825)


Image


Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of 1837 states: "on an eminence at the eastern extremity is a large R. C. chapel, erected at an expense of £2500".
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Aug 09, 2006 10:51 am

St. Joseph's Church, Castletownkenneigh, Ennisleane, Co. Cork (1832)



Image
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Aug 09, 2006 10:59 am

St. Nicholas Church, Killavullen, Mallow, Co. Cork (1839)

Image Image

Unfortunately, this church was subjected to a most terrible vandalism as recently as 10 years ago. All that remains of its classical interior are two scagliola columns now used to form a sort of procinium for the sanctuary which looks as though it has been built on a site previously behind the back wall of the church. It is oddly lit by a glass roof.
Attachments
August06 014.jpg
August06 014.jpg (46.74 KiB) Viewed 10150 times
August06 015.jpg
August06 015.jpg (42.42 KiB) Viewed 10133 times
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Aug 09, 2006 7:02 pm

St. Patrick's Church, Millstreet, Co. Cork

The building of Millstreet church began with a grant of landmade in 1811. The church was built over a period of twenty years. The original church was practically re-built in the 1930s. The present facade dates from that time and seems to incorporate elements from the original facade. The side wings are additions made in the rebuilding. The interior was also rebuilt and based loosly on Ashlin's 1900 interior for St. AMry's in Mallow.

It looks as though another outbreak of vandalism is about to happen here. Plans and drawinga by Eamon Hedderman are prominently displayed
Attachments
August06 018.jpg
August06 018.jpg (45.34 KiB) Viewed 10095 times
August06 020.jpg
August06 020.jpg (56.75 KiB) Viewed 10093 times
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Aug 09, 2006 7:08 pm

St. Patrick's Church, Muilstreet, Co. Cork.

I am posting some photographs of the proposed plans for the "re-ordering" of this church produced by the Holly Park Studio, Dublin.

No effort is made to justify the re-ordering and the gratituitous destruction of the altar rail and pulpit. The provision of a "meeting" area at the back will be very hard to justify in reference to any piece of eccelesiastical law -something that the present parish priest should be well aware of. The idiocyncratic arraangement of the seating is simply bizzare!
Attachments
August06 022.jpg
August06 022.jpg (60.98 KiB) Viewed 10084 times
August06 023.jpg
August06 023.jpg (72.28 KiB) Viewed 10076 times
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Aug 09, 2006 7:56 pm

Beautiful churches.... like the simplicity and recurring themes of the exteriors
User avatar
Paul Clerkin
Old Master
 
Posts: 5418
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 1999 1:00 am
Location: Monaghan

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Aug 09, 2006 8:12 pm

It is a great pity that so little of O'Riordan's oeuvre has survived in anything like its original form. If you thought JJ. McCarthy has been obliterated, just look a poor M.A. O'Riordan.

Yet, I hope to dig out some more little things by him!!
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Aug 09, 2006 9:17 pm

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ballyhea, Charleville, Co. Cork

The attached picture was taken in 1934 and well illustrates the interior decoration of the sanctuary of the church which existed right up to the vandalism of the 1970s. Notable is the absence of the cross in the tympanum of the arch over the High Altar. This probably surmounted the arch but was hacked off in order to allow the present false ceiling to be installed. It is presently, and curiously, situated in front of the chalice motive in the tympanum.

Noteworthy also is the fresco work on the lateral walls of the sanctuary which served to demarkate the sanctuary area in a plain rectangualr interior lacking architectural demarkation.

The lateral window still had its original early 19th.century glazing bars.

The entry to the sacristy (located immediatly behind the High Altar) is through two painted doors integrated into the overall decorative scheme. These have been removed.

The altar rail was in plain wrought iron. The votive altars at either side of the High Altar have been removed.
Attachments
Ballyhea 1934.jpg
Ballyhea 1934.jpg (125.34 KiB) Viewed 10356 times
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:35 pm

St Patrick's Church, Fermoy, Co. Cork

This church may also belong to O'Riordan's oeuvre. It was built in the classical style c. 1817. In 1847 it was extended and its interior and exterior was gothesized by Pugin and Ashlin in 1867.

Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of 1837 describes this church as follows: "The chapel, a spacious and handsome edifice on an eminence, was erected by subscription, towards which the late Mr. Anderson contributed the site rent-free and £500; the altar-piece, of light tracery, is embellished with a good painting of the Crucifixion".

An early 19th. century print showing the classical church is in existence but I have been unable to loacte it so far. In the meantime, I enclose two old photographs of the exterior and interior showing it after having been clad in a neogothic shell.
Attachments
52_1_b.jpg
52_1_b.jpg (21.12 KiB) Viewed 10024 times
3a_1_b.jpg
3a_1_b.jpg (27.36 KiB) Viewed 10013 times
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:22 am

A further possibility is the Chapel of the Presentation Convent, Fermoy, Co. Cork.

The rectangular chapel was built in the first part of the 19th. century in a classical style and functioned up to the 1990s when its interior was plundered and sacked. Nothing remains of the interior.

Lewis 1837 Topographical Dictionary notes the following: "A convent for nuns of the order of the Presentation has been built in a very handsome style on the brow of a hill to the south of the town, to which it is a great ornament; it consists of a centre connected by corridors with two wings, of which one is a chapel and the other a school-house for girls; and was built at an expense of £2000, of which £1500 was obtained from funds appropriated by Miss Goold to the establishment of convents in this county, and the remainder raised by subscription".

While awaiting a better image, I am posting this old photograph of Fermoy which shows the outline of the chapel to the right of the convent building at the top.
Attachments
d~dli0002~0002~0136~0023xl.jpg
d~dli0002~0002~0136~0023xl.jpg (36.3 KiB) Viewed 10005 times
sqferm.jpg
sqferm.jpg (27.69 KiB) Viewed 10007 times
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Chuck E R Law » Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:46 pm

Praxiteles wrote:I am starting this thread in an attempt to catalogue as many as possible of the works of this important early 19th. century Cork architect. So, if any one can add to the list it would be greatly appreciated.


Only an ecclesiastical train spotter would want to catalogue the dreary oeuvre of this mediocre clerical draughtsman. This sad parade of nondescript buildings must have looked the poor relation when compared to the work of the Board of First Fruits of the Church of Ireland.
Chuck E R Law
Member
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:32 pm
Location: Belfast

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby sangallo » Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:24 am

Bear in mind, dear Chuck, that O'Riordan's churches were built at a time when Catholics did not have a lot of wealth, while the Church of Ireland was still the state church until disestablishment in 1870 and in receipt of considerable financial assistance! Given that, I wouldn't be too hard on what O'Riordan managed to do with limited resources, nor on Praxiteles for wanting to catalogue what is part of our patrimony.
sangallo
Member
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 8:26 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:43 am

Here we have our Belfast friend back again. I do not think that the Board of First Fruits had need to be very operative in Northern Ireland as there were sufficiently large Protestant congregatiuons to support their own church building projects. The Board was much more operative in the South of Ireland. The Boards building projects were usually to a standard plan without great variation. The work was usually good but then, even for the smallest congregations, the Board was able to ensure a high standard church.

Catholics in Co. Cork at the end of the 18th century and at the beginning of the 19th century were fortunate enough to be able to begin a building programme while Catholicism was still a proscribed religion an d suffering serious discriminatory disibalities. The churches I have posted by O'Riordan reflect a variety of parishes with a variety of financial possibilities. The most elaborate were obviously Charleville and Doneraile where funds were available from the local Catholic gentry or the benevolant Viscounts Doneraile. I do not believe that it is very fair to judge either O'Riordan personally or professionally on the basis of the constraints under which he worked.
Praxiteles
Old Master
 
Posts: 6044
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: Brother Michael Augustine O'Riordan

Postby brianq » Mon Aug 14, 2006 1:09 am

Hi all,

regardless of the architectural quality and whether the spectacles are rose-coloured or not, the cataloguing of O'riordan's work is a valuable exercise in helping the Irish Catholic church be aware of its history and story. Keep it up. (There's probably an EEC grant for it)

BQ
brianq
Member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:18 am
Location: Belfast

Next

Return to Ireland