Re: Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

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Dominic Madden’s Cathedral of St. Peter and St Paul in Ennis is another example of liturgical adaptation gone wrong. Begun in 1828 and completed by 1842, the decoration of the interior was assigned to JJ McCarthy who is responsible for the internal pillars, with traceried spandrels, and galleries. The building was re-decorated in a renovation begun in 1894 under the direction of Joshua Clarke, father of Harry Clarke. The fresco of the Assumption, which stood behind and above JJ McCarthy’s (demolished) high altar, is by Nagle and Potts. Ennis Cathedral was one of the first in the country to undergo “reordering” according to a perceived need to bring it into conformity with the liturgical requirements of the Second Vatican Council. The guiding light in this was Michael Harty, dean of Maynooth College and subsequently Bishop of Killaloe. Although not an academic nor a trained liturgist , and more at home in teaching rubrics, Michael Harty acquired a reputation in church architecture circles for boldly going where no one went before and exercised a main morte on the design /execution of many Irish churches from the seventies on – his first being the ruination of St Mary’s Chapel in Maynooth College. Andy Devane was the architect for the Ennis “reordering”, backed up by the subtle aestesia of Enda King. The new altar and ambo were done in the erratic natural boulder style highly reminiscent of the de Bello Gallico‘s descriptions of druidic ritual. As in many of the Irish Cathedral “reorderings”, the noteworthy dissapearance of the Chapter Choir stalls is significant.

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