1866 – Design for St.Vincent’s Church and Presbytery, Cork

Architect: George Goldie



Originally designed by its architect George Goldie as a retreat house, it was built in 1873 as a physical attachment to the west side of St Vincent’s Church. Wood engraved print published in The Builder, 1866. Following extensive refurbishment, the monastery became the home of the Department of Music, UCC, in May 2000. Although the presbytery was largely built as designed, the tower was never constructed.

“The Roman Catholic Church of St. Vincent, in Cork, was commenced about ten years ago from the designs of Sir J. Benson. The walls of the nave and chancel alone were erected under his superintendence, and the building remained for some time in an unfinished condition. At length Mr. G. Goldie was called in, who altered the interior, and added the altars, screens, stalls, and other fittings. The altars and screens are of Caen stone, richly sculptured, and adorned with mosaics and shafts of Irish marble. The stalls are of solid oak, elaborately carved, and inlaid with other woods of a more valuable description ; they are supplied with misereres. The east window is filled with glass by Wailes.

This church is now being completed by the addition of one bay to the west of the nave, 18 ft. deep ; a large square tower, 140 ft. high, at the south-west angle ; west front, two deeplyrecessed porches, and a sacristy, 40 ft. by 24 ft., with a chapter -room over of the same dimensions and a sanctus bell turret at the angle, the base of which forms a porch. In addition to the ; completion of the church, a presbytery of large dimensions is being erected. This building, with the west front of the church, forms three sides of a square on the south side. It is two stories high, bnt owing to the rapid fall in ground the north elevation is three stories above the basement. This elevation overlooks a charmi ing and romantic valley; and, as it is seen for many miles round, the architect has made it his chief front, and all the principal apartmenta are arranged in it. The basement will contain a large corridor or cloister, 80 ft. by 22 ft., lighted by large three-light windows, with geometrical tracery in the heads. Internally it is vaulted, and supplied with stone seats in the deeply-recessed window splays. Opening out of this is the refectory, 30 ft. square, the roof of which is of massive timber, supported upon a cylindrical column in the centre, with the dining-table arranged round it. Above th& large cloister is the library, 60 ft. by 22 ft., and a parlour, 22 ft. by 18 ft., and over tlie refectory is the community-room, 30 ft. square. At the north-west angle is a circular turret bracketed out and forming a large bow window to the community -room, ‘and two chambers above. This turret is capped with a tall conical roof rising above the surrounding buildings. Over the library and community -room are two stories of bed-chambers. The kitchens and offices are in the west wing. The principal entrance for strangers is at the soutli end of the same wing; this entrance communicates with the chief staircase, which is of stone. There is another entrance, for the clergy, at the east end of the north wing, on the south side, where the building joins on to the church, and an entrance from the aisle of the church ; these two latter entrances communicate with a large staircase of stone, supported upon pointed arches, and columns of red marble. There are large visiting parlours, porter’s room, &c. in the west wing ; and a tribune, communicating with the house at the west end of the north aisle of the church. The materials used are the native red sandstone, with grey limestone dressings. Mr. Barry McMullen, of Cork, is the builder. Our view represents the Tower, west front, and a portion of the new presbytery.” The Builder, December 22 1866.