· Cathedral restoration part funded by Department allowing for emergency works to building structure
· Newly restored organ now boasts over 4,500 pipes, making it the biggest in the Republic and the only one located in 'a pit' across the whole island of Ireland
Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will attend the re -dedication of the Cathedral Organ at St. Fin Barre's Cathedral Cork on Sunday 20th October.
The service will commence at 16.00hrs with the re dedication by the Right Reverend Paul Colton (Bishop of Cork) of the Cathedral organ which was originally built in 1870 by William Hill. This will be followed by the sung office of Choral Evensong, a sung Te Deum, and a spectacular organ voluntary.
Speaking in advance of the service Minister Deenihan said "St Fin Barre's Cathedral Cork is a protected structure on Cork City Council’s Record of Protected Structures. The Cathedral is rated as being of International importance on my own Department’s National Inventory of Architectural Heritage’s survey and it is also a recorded monument. As one of the most coherent examples of Victorian ecclesiastical architecture in Western Europe I was delighted last year, under the Special Projects funding measure to allocate a sum of €212,000 towards the conservation works to the cathedral."
The newly restored organ now boasts over 4,500 pipes, making it the biggest in the Republic. It is also the only organ situated in 'a pit' across the island of Ireland. For over 700 years there has been a choir in the various cathedrals on the site. The organ is essential to the continuance of this tradition which not only provides three choral services a week but also provides free musical education for boy and girl choristers from 8 years of age upwards. Third level students also benefit from the lay vicar scholarship programme.
Funding provided by the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht under the Special Projects assisted with emergency works to the South and West elevations of the building but also contributed towards the essential works to the North Transept and the organ pit, thus ensuring that the organ would be protected from water ingress for future generations.
Also attending will be Very Reverend Nigel Dunne, Dean of Cork.
In 1862, the well-known English architect William Burges, prepared plans. It was his first major and completed commission.
The cathedral was built on the site of an earlier cathedral. The foundation stone was laid in 1865 by Bishop John Gregg. It was consecrated on 30th November 1870, towers and spires completed in 1876. On 29 October 1879 John Gregg’s son, Bishop Robert Samuel Gregg laid the last stone.
The Cathedral stylistically follows a French Gothic Revival style (late thirteenth-century Gothic).
Burges drew up the overall iconographic scheme for the cathedral and designed the stained glass, sculptures, mosaics, furniture and metalwork for the interior.
· The Cathedral organ was originally built in 1870 by the English builder William Hill, who was the foremost organ builder of the period. He built a lot of cathedral organs including Westminster Abbey and King's College Cambridge. He also built the famous organ in Sydney Town Hall in Australia and nearer to home the organ in the Ulster Hall in Belfast.
· It is one of the largest organs in Ireland having 4 manuals and over 80 stops.
· The organ has had 2 previous restorations, the latest in 1966. By 2007 electrical components were failing resulting in an unreliable instrument, so the decision was taken to rebuild rather than patch it up.
· The work was entrusted to the Irish firm of Trevor Crowe who recently installed the organs in Galway Cathedral and St. Canice's Cathedral in Kilkenny. The cost of the project was €1.2 million euro and has taken 3 years to complete.