|Collegiate Chapel of St Finbarr|
Chapel front, facing the student centre
|Dedication||Fin Barre of Cork|
|Architect(s)||James F. McMullen and John O'Connell|
|Style||Arts and Crafts movement|
The Honan Chapel (Irish: Séipéal Uí Eonáin), formally known as Saint Finbarr's Collegiate Chapel or the Honan Hostel Chapel is a small collegiate church located adjacent to the grounds of University College Cork in Cork city, Ireland. The chapel, its furniture and liturgical collection are products of the Arts and Crafts movement in Ireland.
When Queen's College Cork (now University College Cork) was founded in 1845, its charter meant that it was non-denominational, and the act under which it was founded stated that no government money should be used for the building of a chapel or church.
In 1913, following the death of Isabella Honan (the last in a line of wealthy Cork merchants), the executor of her will, Rev. Sir John O´Connell, allocated £40,000 of the Honan estate to the college. As Catholic students had no place of worship, some of the money from the Honan estate was allocated to the building of a chapel and hostel (now demolished) to serve Roman Catholic students and staff.
James Finbarre McMullen, a Cork based architect, was employed as the main architect on the project. Other works by McMullen in Cork city include the Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital, Western Rd. (1897), St. Finbarre's West Total Abstinence Club, Bandon Road (1900), and remodeling at Holy Trinity Church, Fr. Mathew Quay (1908).
The firm of John Sisk, also a Cork based contractor, was the principal builder on the project. (90 years later, in 1996, the firm of Sisk & Sons worked as contractors on the O'Rahilly Building project - a complex which was built on the site of the former Honan Hostel; 1914–1991.)
Using the funds from the Honan bequest, and overseen by the executor Rev. Sir John O´Connell, the foundation stone of the Honan Chapel was laid on 18 May 1915. The chapel was consecrated the following year, on 5 November 1916.
Style and influence
The architectural style of the chapel is Hiberno-Romanesque in tradition, in that it has no aisles or transepts and a plain rectangular nave. The plan and Hiberno-Romanesque style has been compared to that seen in the 12th-century church of St. Cronan in Roscrea. Its bell-tower is also inspired by early monasticism and its circular-plan comparable to the round towers seen in Irish monastic settlements from the 9th century onwards.
The chapel and its liturgical collection, were produced during the late phase of the Irish Arts and Crafts movement (1894–1925). Both the building and furnishings were designed and produced as a single commission. This, together with oversight attributed to O'Connell, accounts for an overall unity of style and design and a consistent use of Celto-Byzantine motifs in the building, its furnishings, altar plate, hangings and vestments. The traditions of Celtic art and Hiberno-Romanesque architecture were blended with tastes for Symbolism and Art Nouveau common in Europe before the outbreak of the First World War (1914–18). In Ireland this was known as the Celtic Twilight. O'Connell also worked closely with the president of University College Cork, Sir Bertram Allan Coghill Windle (1858–1929), to achieve his goals.
The Honan Chapel is regarded as a significant work of the Irish Arts & Crafts Movement (1894–1925). The commission was also significant because the project generated much needed work in Cork during the First World War (1914–18). The project fostered the revival of silver and textile craft working, once central to the Cork economy, and supported other local firms.
Artwork and liturgical collection
John Robert O'Connell commissioned the Cork firm of Egan & Sons for work on the altar plate and vestments. The names of seamstresses from the Egan workshop, formerly in 32 Patrick St. Cork, are embroidered in the lining of some of these textile commissions. Students from the Crawford Municipal Technical Institute, which became the Crawford College of Art & Design, were involved in the exterior carvings.
Other features include the tabernacle with enamels by Oswald Reeves and stained glass windows by Harry Clarke and Sarah Purser's studio. The St. Gobnait window on the north side of the chapel was nearly destroyed during the Easter Rising in Dublin. Changes in the liturgy, brought about by Vatican II, gave opportunities for a new generation of artists to decorate the Honan Chapel between 1983 and 2001. Imogen Stuart designed the altar, ambo, priest's chair and baptismal font. Hangings were designed by Evelyn Ross and Kim En Joong. The organ was built by Kenneth Jones, of Bray, County Wicklow.
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