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 St. Brendan in Loughrea, Co. Galway was begun in 1897 to plans drawn up by William Byrne and completed by 1902. In size, it is quite modest and, exteriorally, not much different from many churches then being buit in Ireland. Byrne was commissioned to bulit a church in the neo Gothic idiom, having a nave, absidal chancel, lean-to isles, a shallow transcept and a spire. The interior, however, is another matter. By some strange providence, the interior became a veritable icon of the Celtic revival movementin terms of sculpure, above all glass, metal work and wood work. This gem was the product of a partnership of interest in the Celtic Revival shared by Fr. Jeremiah O’Donovan, who was given charge of the Loughrea cathedral project, and by Edward Martyn (benefactor of the Palestrina Choir in the Pro-Cathedral). John Hughes was commissioned to do the sculpture for the interior -including the bronze relief of Christ on the reredos of the High Altar and a marble statue of Our Lady. Michael Shortall was commissioned to execute a statue of St. Brendan and the corbels. He is also responsible for the scenes from the life of St. Brendan on the capitals of the pillars. Designed by Jack B. Yates and his wife Mary, the ladies of the Dun Emer guild embroidered twenty four banners of Irish saints. The same studio provided Mass vestments etc.. The stained glass is by An Tur Glaoine (opened in 1903) under the direction of Alfred Childe and Sarah Purser. Over the next forty years A. Childe, S. Purser and Michael Healy executed all of the glass. Michael Healy’s Ascension (1936) and Last Judgement (1937-1940) are amongst the Cathedral’s greatest treasures. Fortunately, the liturgical Boeotians have not yet managed to exact their vengence on this little gem. The High Altar, communion rails, and pulpit are all still in tact – though the inferior quality of the modern liturgical furnishings inserted into the original organic whole is patently obvious.

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