150th anniversary of the consecration of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral to be celebrated later this month

150th anniversary of the consecration of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral to be celebrated later this month

Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral as seen from Elizabeth Fort, the 17th-century fort off Barrack Street. In the lead up to the 150th anniversary on November 30, the Church of Ireland Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross has announced a programme of events, adapted to comply with the Covid-19 restrictions. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Almost 150 years ago Cork's iconic Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral was consecrated.

In the lead up to the 150th anniversary on November 30, the Church of Ireland Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross has announced a programme of events, adapted to comply with the Covid-19 restrictions. 

Originally, a day of celebration was planned for the previous day, Sunday, November 29, with invited guests from the Diocese and the city, as well as national and international representatives.

"Clearly, this is no longer possible," said the Dean of Cork, the Very Reverend Nigel Dunne. 

"But that will not deter us," he added.

A whole year of thanksgiving and celebration was mapped out and now the plans have been adapted and, depending on the public health realities, will evolve as the year goes on.

The Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, said he hopes that Cork people and Irish people will pick up the story of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral. 

"This isn’t only about celebrating the place with the iconic three spires and golden angel have on the landscape of Cork. 

"It is about what the site itself represents and the role the Cathedral has played in the life of people of faith, in Cork generally and on the national stage too," he said.

Bishop Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, pictured against the backdrop of Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral in Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.
Bishop Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, pictured against the backdrop of Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral in Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.

Designed by William Burges and consecrated in 1870, the present Cathedral lies on a site where Christian worship has been offered since the seventh century.

Burges had been appointed architect for the new cathedral in 1862, after a competition for which there were 63 entries.

The cathedral's limestone spires are over 140 years, completed in October 1879.

It has been said that St Fin Barre's may be the most coherent French Neo-Gothic style cathedral in western Europe.

In a statement, the Church of Ireland Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross said that while the anniversary of the consecration itself on November 30 will now be marked "in a necessary low key way", an adapted programme of events has been announced for the remainder of the year.

To coincide with All Saints, All Souls and Remembrance, the Cathedral will be open for personal prayer on Saturday, November 7 from 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm with an opportunity in particular to light candles in memory of those who have died this year of Covid-19.

Bishop Paul Colton will celebrate the Eucharist in the Cathedral on Sunday, November 29 at 11:15am without a congregation but it will be broadcast online on the Cathedral website.

Bishop Colton has also written and compiled a resource for children and young people to mark the 150th anniversary and this will be available in hard copy as well as online for use in schools and in children’s and youth groups and for families at home.

A limited edition Annie West print celebrating the Cathedral’s consecration will be available to purchase.

There will also be a video launch of the Cathedral Choir’s new CD, Let all the world in every corner sing.

Two exhibitions will be mounted of photographs; one of the demolition of the former Cathedral, and another from a family album owned by Bishop Robert Gregg, son of Bishop John Gregg showing the completed new cathedral. 

The album, discovered by Bishop Paul and Susan Colton, includes a drawing - a doodle sketch - done by the Cathedral architect, William Burges, for Bishop Gregg’s grandson, Jack, as a child.

You can keep up to date with the events by visiting corkcathedral.webs.com

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