1860 – Ballaghaderreen Cathedral, Co. Mayo

Architect: Hadfield and Goldie, W.H. Byrne


The Cathedral Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Nathy is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Achonry. This initial part of the Cathedral consisted of an “eight-bay nave with clerestory and lean-to side aisles, a four-stage tower with spire to west, square-ended chancel to east with sacristy and mortuary chapel to north and south.” The tower with a needle spire and a carillon of bells and new sacristy were all added in 1912 by the architect, William H. Byrne.

“OUR readers will be interested, and probably somewhat surprised to learn that during the last four or five years a large cathedral church. of a dignified and strictly ecclesiastical architectural character, has been growing up in this remote locality, out of the line of railways and amidst a wide extent of bogs and comparatively storile country.

The energy of the Roman Catholic Bishop of the diocese of Achonry, seconded by his clergy, and the cordial co-operation of some of the more influential laymen of the neighbourhood, has been the motive power which has produced this important work. The church, which has been built after designs by Messrs. Hadfield and Goldie, architects, consists of the ordinary constituent parts of a parochial church, viz., a nave and aisles, chancel with side aisles forming chapels, and the dependancies of porches, sacristy, and a western tower and spire yet to be erected.

The total internal length of the building is 150 feet, its width being 59 feet, with a height from the floor of the nave to the apex of its roof of 67 feet. The style is a simple Gothic, known as “Early English” or “First pointed.” A very noble arcade of eight arches on either hand forms the nave, carried on cylindrical shafts, with lofty bases and moulded capitals, the arches and capitals being wrought in white Scotch sand-stone, the bases and shafts in the local blue lime-stone. A chancel arch of lofty proportions, with shafted jambs, and a moulded arch, opens into the chancel, which has a noble eastern window of six lights; smaller arches terminate the aisles, and give access to the chapels which flank the chancel, into which they open by other arches. The roofs are framed in open timbers, the original intention having been to cover or vault them in wood and plaster, but this has been abandoned on the ground of cost. A lofty tower and spire is here after to be added at the western extremity of the nave. The high altar for the chancel is in progress of execution in the workshops of Mr. Henry Lane, of Dublin, whose works at Dominick-street Church and other places are so well known to our readers. The altar and tabernacle are to be of Caen stone and Irish marbles,—the tabernacle rising to a considerable height in rich canopy work, crowned by a rich gilt cross, set with crystals. The door will be likewise richly gilt and engraved. The reredos is to rise to a considerable height behind the altar, and will be formed of Caen stone, encausted with enamelled tiles of rich colours. Beyond the high altar no other fittings are as yet in progress-they will be undertaken by degrees. It is expected that the church will be ready for opening next month. Mr. Charles Barker is the clerk of the works. The total cost will be about £5,000.”

Published April 15, 2023