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

Home Forums Ireland reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches Re: Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals – St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh


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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