St. Colman's Cathedral, Cobh
The Cathedral has its roots in the diocese of Cloyne which was moved to Cobh in 1769. At this time, the repression on the Catholic church was still subject to repressions and it was not until the 19th century when Cobh had the legal and financial possibilities to build an adequate Cathedral. Consturction started in 1867 but was not completed until 1915.
Cobh's cathedral is a typical reprensentative of British 19th century Neogothic architecture and one of the most splendid (and expensive) in Ireland. However, you will wuickly recognise that it is completely out of size for a town like Cobh. The carrillon is probably the most often mentioned feature of the Cathedral. With 49 bells, it is said to be the largest in the British islands (though 7 bells were later additions). Beside also being the only Cathedral with a carrillion in the Republic of Ireland. St. Colman's Cathedral has also the largest bell in Ireland, named after St. Colman.
It would be impossible to go to Cobh and not notice St. Colman's Cathedral. The huge church overshadows the small town sitting high on a hilltop overlooking the harbor. We left the Heritage Center and proceeded to walk up the hill to the cathedral. There are several bars dotted along the hillside as you walk up to the church, so if you are tired or need a brief rest there is no worry. The church itself is very beautiful both inside and out, which is not always the case. The church has been called "the most ambitious building project undertaken by the Church in nineteenth-century Ireland" and seeing it up close I can understand the statement.
This was the first place we stopped and what a fantastic view you have from here over the bay. This lovely french gothic building was built in the form of a Latin cross, its exterior is of Dalkey Granite with dressing os Mallow limestone. The Cathedral was named after St Colman (522 - 604) who is the patron of the Diocese of Cloyne. His feast day is on November 24th.
It took 47 years to build (1868 - 1915) at a total cost of 235,000 pounds
Inside, St Colman's Cathedral is considerably more appealing then it's rather forbidding grey exterior. It's patron saint, St Coleman (522-604) is remembered at many points and in the intricately carved altars in the north and south transepts, there is a scroll of names listing all the bishops of this cathedral, going all the way from St Coleman to the present incumbent, Bishop John Magee. The floor is very striking, with inricately mosaiced green and white celtic emblems on a deep red background. Huge marble pillars, stained glass windows, carved oak and mosaic tiles all lend a solemn air to this building but there are always groups of local people, often reciting the Rosary out loud too and this give reminds one that it is a place for the people. Just inside the main door is a visitors book where people leave comments or make requests from God. This makes interesting reading and the faith and trust displayed here would stop even the most confirmed atheist in their tracks.
An information leaflet costing the massive sum of 20 cents is available att the main entrance.
At this point in your visit ,St Colman's Cathedral will definitely be dominating the skyline and now is as good a time as any to climb up to visit it. Go straight through Casement Square, turning right at the northern end and the cathedral will at all times be in your sight. It's a bit of a haul upwards and be prepared to catch your breath every so often, but arriving at the top to those stunning views is really worthwhile. From the outside this neo-gothic pile is not, apart from its location, particularly impressive. The bells are pretty impressive though and together, all 49 of them make up the biggestr carillon in Ireland. The sound of those bells pealing out over the sea is unforgettable, especially if you happen to be there for the angelus recital which lasts several minutes.
It would be impossible not to find St Coleman's Cathedral when you visit Cobh! Set on a steep hill, this large Gothic revival church towers over the entire town.It has the largest carillon in Ireland and Britain with 49 bells.
When I ask "Why no seats?" I mean "Why no seats outside?"
St Colman's Cathedral is an impressive looking piece of architecture which towers above the town and can be seen for miles, especially when you arrive by boat!
There is a great view od the harbour from the Cathedral's grounds but, after climbing up all those hills, a bench would be nice outside to sit down!! Maybe I am being fussy :-)
Inside the building there is an information leaflet available for a small charge. I guess the whole thing is fairly extraordinary, considering it was finished less than a century ago. But it is not quite as quaint as St Finnbar's Cathedral in Cork. Quite pleasant though and very big.
To get there I would suggest you walk through the town, zig-zagging up the colourful streets. Coming down you can risk taking the very steep but colourful terrace of 'West View', which leads back down under the gateway into Casement Square.
St. Colman's Cathedral imposingly overlooks the town. It can be reached by climbing up a pretty steep hill. It is worth the climb, though, as once there you can not only admire its neo-Gothic design, but you will also be rewarded with some of the best sea views the town has to offer.
The Catholic cathedral is dedicated to St. Colman and was built between 1868 and 1925. The floor is parquet but up the aisles is a tile mosaic made to look like a Celtic knot runner carpet. Really nice! A couple of places, entranceways through to side chapels, have swastikas worked into and around the knotwork but back when the cathedral was built the swastika was considered a good luck symbol! The view from the Cathedral yard over the town and harbour was fabulous!
This is the beautiful St. Colman Cathedral.
If you go up there you have the most stuning view from Cobh and you can even see Cork.