Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral
Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral is a Gothic Revival three-spire cathedral in the city of Cork, Ireland. It belongs to the Church of Ireland and was completed in 1879. Christian use of the site dates back to a 7th-century AD monastery, which according to legend was founded by Finbarr of Cork. The cathedral’s demolition and rebuild was commissioned in the mid-19th century by an Anglican church intent on strengthening its hand.
About Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral in brief
Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral is a Gothic Revival three-spire cathedral in the city of Cork, Ireland. It belongs to the Church of Ireland and was completed in 1879. Christian use of the site dates back to a 7th-century AD monastery, which according to legend was founded by Finbarr of Cork. The original building survived until the 12th century, by when it had either fallen into disuse or been destroyed by the Normans. The cathedral’s demolition and rebuild was commissioned in the mid-19th century by an Anglican church intent on strengthening its hand after the reforms of penal law. Work began in 1863, and resulted in the first major commissioned project for the Victorian architect William Burges, who designed most of the cathedral’s architecture, sculpture, stained glass, mosaics and interior furniture. Many of the external sculptures, including the gargoyles, were modelled by Thomas Nicholls. The entrances contain the figures of over a dozen biblical figures, capped by a tympanum showing a Resurrection scene. It was once in the Diocese of Cork; it is now one of the three cathedrals in the Church. of Ireland Dioceseof Cork, Cloyne and Ross, in the ecclesiastical province of Dublin. The church grounds are located south of the River Lee on Holy Island, on one of. the many inlets forming the Great Marsh of Munster. The building was badly damaged in 1690 during the Siege of Cork and only the steeple remained intact, due to an outbreak of fire and the impact of a 24-pound shot from Elizabeth Fort in nearby Barrack Street.
The cannonball was rediscovered during the 1865 demolition and is now on display in the cathedral. It is the first cathedral to be built in the British Isles since London’s St Paul’s in February 1865, following a competition for the designs of the architect then declared the winner of the competition. The previous building was constructed in the 1730s, but was widely regarded as plain and featureless. The cathedral is mostly built from local stone sourced from Little Island and Fermoy, and the exterior is capped by three spires: two on the west front and above where the transept crosses the nave. The older part of this church was described in 1862 as Doric in style, attached to a featureless modern tower with an \”ill-formed\” spire. It was demolished in 1735 and replaced the same year by a smaller building, as part of a wider phase of citywide construction and renovation. The Cathedral was consecrated in 1870 and the limestone spires completed by October 1879, with only the earlier spire being retained for the new building. The earlier part of the building was described as ‘a shabby apology for a cathedral has has has been designed’ and ‘tasteless, dull, obtrusive and obverse…. It is usually regarded as possessing any sort of architectural consideration’.