Re: Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals – St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh
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St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, designed by WIlliam Deane Butler, was begun in 1843 and completed in 1857. Its neo-Gothic style is heavily Norman in inspiration and can be easily compared with St. Jean de Malte in Aix-en-Provence, St-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume in Provence or indeed with many of the pure creations of the Norman displacement in central and southern Italy – such as the abbatial church at Fossanova in Latium, Sant’Eligio in Naples, and San Lorenzo Maggiore in Naples. The decoration of the interior of Kilkenny’s St. Mary’s is by Earley and Powell and was brought to completion in 1865. This firm was responsible for the ceiling painting of the chancel, the glass, the high altar fittings and lightings. The mosaic work is by Bourke of London and the chancel murals by Westlake. In the 1970s, the socially minded Bishop Birch instigated, in the diocese of Ossory, an iconoclasm worthy of the emperor Leo III, a martial pesant from the mountains of Isouria whose hatred of images was largely inspired by an incomparable ignorance of both sacred and profane letters. Kilkenny cathedral, fortunately, escaped the worst ravages and retains its (albeit redundant) High Altar which was purchased in Italy. The altar rails (alas no more) and the altar of the Sacred Heart were the work of James Pearce. A diminuitive and out of scale altar was placad under the crossing and a new cathedra -redolent of Star trek – installed. The contour of this impianto is remarkably similar to the one now proposed for Cobh cathedral. Perhaps the greatest thing that can be said for this “reordering” is that it can (and will) eventually be removed leaving the building more or less as concieved by none too mean an architect.
So far, nobody wishes to claim responsibility for the effort.