Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral

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Saint Finbarre's Cathedral, Cork
51°53′40″N 8°28′50″W / 51.8944°N 08.48064°W / 51.8944; -08.48064Coordinates: 51°53′40″N 8°28′50″W / 51.8944°N 08.48064°W / 51.8944; -08.48064
Country Ireland
Denomination Church of Ireland
Dedication Saint Fin Barre
Architect(s) William Burges
Style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 1865
Completed 1879
Diocese Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross
Province Province of Dublin
Bishop(s) Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross
Dean Very Revd Nigel Dunne
Organist/Director of music Malcolm Wisener
Organist(s) James Taylor

Saint Finbarre's Cathedral, (Irish: Ardeaglais Naomh Fionnbarra) is a Church of Ireland cathedral located in Cork, Ireland. The site of the cathedral has been a place of worship since the 7th century. The three spires of the cathedral are one of Cork's main landmarks. It is the seat of the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, currently Bishop Paul Colton. It is named after Cork's patron saint.


View of St Finbarre's Cathedral, east end
The cathedral at night

Medieval cathedral

A Medieval Cathedral was situated on the site prior to the 18th century building, but few traces of it are visible. The cathedral was damaged during the Siege of Cork in 1689/90, when it came under fire from the nearby Elizabeth Fort. When the steeple was demolished in 1865, a 24-pound cannonball from the siege was discovered, which is now on display in the cathedral.

18th century cathedral

A small Neo-Classical building was constructed on the site in 1735 by Bishop Peter Browne. It was demolished in 1865 to make way for the present cathedral. The 1735 entrance gate survived the re-building and is still in use.

Burges' Resurrection Angel

Present cathedral

Architect William Burges began work on the present Gothic Revival cathedral in 1862. Construction started on the cathedral in 1865 and in 1870 the unfinished building was consecrated. The towers and spires were finally completed in 1879.

Burges gave a Resurrection Angel, made of copper and gold leaf, which is located on the pinnacle of the sanctuary roof. There is a local superstition which states that if ever the angel falls, it would signify the end of the world.

List of Deans of Cork

The organ

The Organ Console

The Organ was built in 1870 by William Hill of London, with 3 manuals and 40 stops. The action on the Great was some form of pneumatic action (possibly Barker lever) on the Great, and tracker for the other two manuals.

The instrument was then overhauled in 1889 by the Cork Organ-building firm, T.W. Megahy, who added three new stops, though it is not entirely clear which these were. It was at this time that the Organ was moved from the West Gallery down to a Pit in the North Transept, where it still sits today.

The next major overhaul of the instrument was in 1906 by Hele & Co. of Plymouth, who added a fourth Manual (the Solo). By this stage, the action of the organ was entirely pneumatic.

The last time major work was done to the organ was in 1965-66, when J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd of London rebuilt the instrument. They overhauled the soundboards, installed a new console with electropneumatic action, and lowered the pitch to 'standard' C = 523./3. The organ now has 4 manuals, 56 stops, and 3012 pipes.


  • William Love 1677 - 1698
  • Thomas Hollister 1698? - 1703?
  • William Toole 1703 - 1711
  • Edward Broadway 1712 - 1720
  • William Smyth 1720 - 1721
  • Henry De La Maine 1782 - 1796
  • James Roche 1797 - 1811
  • James Brealsford Stephens 1811 - 1860
  • John Christopher Marks 1860 - 1903
  • William George Everleigh 1903 - 1922[2]
  • Jonathan Thomas Horne 1922 - 1977
  • Andrew Paul Padmore 1977 - 1984 (afterwards organist of St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast)
  • Colin Gerald Nicholls 1984 - 2007
  • Malcolm Wisener 2007 - current (previously organist at St Bartholomew's Church, Dublin)

Assistant organists

See also

External links


  1. ^
  2. ^ Dictionary of organs and organists. First Edition. 1912. p.272
  • David Lawrence and Ann Wilson, The Cathedral of Saint Fin Barre at Cork: William Burges in Ireland 2006, Four Courts Press