Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral

Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral

Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral (Irish: Ardeaglais Naomh Fionnbarra) is a Gothic Revival three-spire cathedral in the city of Cork, Ireland. It belongs to the Church of Ireland and was completed in 1879. The cathedral is located on the south side of the River Lee, on ground that has been a place of worship since the 7th century, and is dedicated to Finbarr of Cork, patron saint of the city. It was once in the Diocese of Cork; it is now one of the three cathedrals in the Church of Ireland Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, in the ecclesiastical province of Dublin.

Christian use of the site dates back to a 7th-century AD monastery, which according to legend was founded by Finbarr of Cork. The original building survived until the 12th century, by when it had either fallen into disuse or been destroyed by the Normans. Around 1536, during the Protestant Reformation, the cathedral became part of the established church, later known as the Church of Ireland. The previous building was constructed in the 1730s, but was widely regarded as plain and featureless.

The cathedral's demolition and rebuild was commissioned in the mid-19th century by an Anglican church intent on strengthening its hand after the reforms of penal law. Work began in 1863, and resulted in the first major commissioned project for the Victorian architect William Burges, who designed most of the cathedral's architecture, sculpture, stained glass, mosaics and interior furniture. Saint Fin Barre's foundation stone was laid in 1865. The cathedral was consecrated in 1870 and the limestone spires completed by October 1879.

The cathedral is mostly built from local stone sourced from Little Island and Fermoy. The exterior is capped by three spires: two on the west front and above where the transept crosses the nave. Many of the external sculptures, including the gargoyles, were modelled by Thomas Nicholls. The entrances contain the figures of over a dozen biblical figures, capped by a tympanum showing a Resurrection scene.

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