St Colman's Cathedral, Cobh

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St Colman's Cathedral
Ardeaglais Naomh Chólmáin
St.-Colman-Kathedrale Cobh-2.jpg
Cathedral of St Colman
St Colman's Cathedral is located in Ireland
St Colman's Cathedral
St Colman's Cathedral
51°51′05″N 8°17′37″W / 51.8515°N 8.2936°W / 51.8515; -8.2936Coordinates: 51°51′05″N 8°17′37″W / 51.8515°N 8.2936°W / 51.8515; -8.2936
LocationCobh, Ireland
DenominationRoman Catholic
Consecrated24 August 1919
Years built51
Groundbreaking30 September 1868
Construction cost£235,000
Tower height91.4 m (300 ft)
Bells49 (four-octave carillon)
Tenor bell weight3 long tons 12 cwt 0 qr 0 lb (8,064 lb or 3.658 t)
ParishCobh Cathedral
Bishop(s)William Crean

The Cathedral Church of St Colman, usually known as Cobh Cathedral, sometimes as Queenstown Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Cobh, Ireland. It is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Cloyne. It overlooks Cork harbour from a prominent position. Construction began in 1868 and was not completed until over half a century later due to increases in costs and revisions of the original plans. With the steeple being 91.4 metres tall (300 ft), the cathedral is the tallest church in Ireland. It used to be the second-tallest, only behind St John's Cathedral in Limerick which was 94 metres tall, but newer measurements have shown that the St John's spire is 81 metres tall and therefore only the fourth tallest church in Ireland.

Construction and consecration[edit]

The building of the superstructure began in 1869 but when the contractors had taken the external walls to an average of 12 ft. Bishop Keane advised that he preferred a more elaborate design. Consequently, with the exception of the ground plan, none of the original plans were followed. These extra works increased by many thousands of cubic feet of stone the quantity already provided for and substantially increased the cost. Bishop Keane died in January 1874. His successor, Bishop John McCarthy, took the project almost to completion, but it fell to Bishop Robert Browne to consecrate the cathedral in 1919.[1]


The architects were Edward Welby Pugin and George Ashlin; construction began in 1868.[2] When Pugin died in 1875, Ashlin took on the services of a Dublin architect, Thomas Aloysius Coleman, to assist him in the completion of the project. The clerk of works was Charles Guilfoyle Doran, who supervised the project until his death in 1909, when the cathedral was within sight of being completed.[3]

The cathedral was consecrated on 24 August 1919 by the Right Reverend Robert Browne, Bishop of Cloyne, in the presence of three of Ireland's archbishops Michael Logue, John Harty and Thomas Gilmartin.[4][5]

As is Catholic practice, each year on the anniversary day of the Consecration, candles are lit before the twelve crosses on the nave pillars which mark the places where the walls were anointed with Sacred Chrism in the course of the 1919 consecration liturgy.[1]


The tower contains a carillon which, with 49 bells, is one of the largest in Europe. An automated system strikes the hour and 15 minute intervals while it also rings the bells in appropriate form for Masses, funerals, weddings and events. The carillon is also played on special occasions and generally every Sunday afternoon by its current carillonneur Adrian Gebruers.


  • Patrick Thompson, Guide to St. Colman's Cathedral, Cobh, revised edition, Carraig Print, Cork.
  • Jeremy Williams, A Companion Guide to Architecture in Ireland 1837-1921, Irish Academic Press' 1994.
  • Paul Atterbury and Clive Wainwright, Pugin, Yale University Press 1994.
  • Paul Atterbury, A.W.N. Pugin: A Master of Gothic Revival, Yale University Press 1995
  • Bernard J. Canning, Bishops of Ireland 1870-1987, Donegal Democrat, 1987



  1. ^ a b "St Colman's Cathedral". Cloyne Diocese. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  2. ^ Irish Architectural Archive (ed.). "CO. CORK, COBH, CATHEDRAL OF ST COLMAN (RC)". Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 – 1940. Retrieved 24 January 2019. Excavations begun Summer 1868. FS laid by Bishop William Keane, 15 Jul 1868
  3. ^ "". Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  4. ^ "Saint Colman's Cathedral". Freeman's Journal. Dublin. 25 August 1919. p. 5, col. 4.
  5. ^ "Queenstown Cathedral". Skibbereen Eagle. Skibbereen. 30 August 1919. p. 2, col. 2.