St Ann's Church, Cork

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 Reviews

The Shandon side of town

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  • St. Anne's Church Tower
    St. Anne's Church Tower
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  • Inside St. Anne's Church
    Inside St. Anne's Church
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  • Inside St. Anne's Church
    Inside St. Anne's Church
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    Shandon: St. Anne's Church

    by Airpunk Written Jun 13, 2013

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    St. Anne's Church Tower
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    St. Anne's Church was first mentioned in 1199, but surely much older. However, the present building barely dates from 1772.

    The bells of St. Anne's Church have been immortalized in a poem. Today's bells are unfortunately not the original anymore, they had to be recast in 1865 and 1906. The clock is called the „Four-faced liar“ because usually all four faces show different times.

    The tower is accssible to visitors and visitors can even ring the famous bells. However, I was too late for this and only managed to see the church itself.

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    Church of St. Anne Shandon

    by dila Updated Aug 11, 2009

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    The name Shandon comes from the Irish, Sean Dun, and means Old Fort. Shandon was one of 28 settlements in and around ancient Cork.
    Dont forget to take the earthings at the beginning when you climb the tower.
    I forgot and realised that and rushed back downstairs as people can use the bells

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    Shandon - St Annes Church

    by suvanki Updated Nov 8, 2008

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    St Annes Church Shandon Stained Glass Window
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    After Ringing the Bells and Climbing the tower to enjoy the views, I returned to the ground level to find Katherine (Ekaterinburg) who, even though she'd spent the time waiting for me, in the church, showed me around.

    Now, there were notices saying 'no photographs' but we did take a few shots! I can't understand why some churches don't allow pics, especially with the flash off. Yes, it would be inappropiate to be snapping away during a service, or when people were praying, or wanting some solitude, but there was just the 2 of us in there.

    The church is quite plain in its architecture, with a wooden ? ships keel style ceiling and an upper mezanine level.
    The seating appeared to be a newer addition - each chair having a fish shape carved out of the seat back (presumably in a dual reference to the Christian sign and Old Goldie - the salmon shaped weathervane at the top of the church)(pic 5)

    There are some ancient 17th Century books and manuscripts in the church

    The Christening Font, is a relic from the Church destroyed in the siege of Cork in 1690 and bears the inscription, "Walter Elinton and William Ring made this pant (which was the Anglo-Saxon word for Font) at their charges". The font is dated 1629. Within it is a pewter bowl dated 1773.

    I particularly liked the stained glass windows, and the vibrant colours.

    At the back of the church was a model of the church made from matchsticks and lolly sticks, which I think was a gift from one of the parishioners. (pic 4)

    Sunday Services

    0900 Eucharist

    10 00 Eucharist 1st, 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month
    Sunday Matins 3rd Sunday

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    Shandon St Annes Church- Ring Those Shandon Bells!

    by suvanki Updated Nov 8, 2008

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    Pull here!
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    Entering the Church of St Annes, Ekaterinburg casually mentioned that you could climb the tower, and ring the bells. Well, I was aware that time was limited - (I had to return to the airport in just under 2 hours) but this was too good a chance to miss. I'd wanted to have a go at campanology (bell ringing) for a long time. And I'd get the chance to view the city from above.

    While Katherine went for a look around the church, I headed up the tower, after paying my 6 euros to the curator, who warned me to be back down by 5pm! (it was about 11am).
    He was quite an amusing character, and I was surprised to find an article about him in the newspaper that I picked up at the airport later that day!
    Apparently Declan D Kelly was born in the Parish and his love and knowledge of Shandon and ithis church, along with his lovely humour has led to him being not just being employed as Curator, but also by tour companies as a guide to the area and also as an 'after dinner speaker'. If I get the chance to return to Cork, I'll certainly look out for one of his guided walks.

    I hurried up the first flight of stairs, and came upon a room, with a wooden frame and numbered ropes. For a brief moment, I was disappointed. I was expecting to find thick ropes hanging from the bells above, to swing on! The bells are actually fixed, and played as chimes.

    However, I was soon distracted from this, by a selection of yellow 'song sheets' where each note to be played, was indicated by a number from 1-8. The 8 bells of Shandon form an octave

    I was surprised to see such tunes as Three Blind Mice, You are my sunshine and Don't Cry for me Argentina! One of the tunes is 'The Bells of Shandon', which I didn't attempt, as I don't think that I've ever heard this - although I'll probably have.

    I eventually settled on Abide With Me. So, donning a pair of ear defenders, I proceeded to entertain the locals with a virtuoso performance-

    6678 - 434456
    6543 - 457658 and so on---- I swear that I could hear the applause and cheering from the grateful Corkonians below!- Hmmm!

    I can't imagine what it must be like listening to this noise each day, particularly when a school party etc arrives.

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    Shandon St Annes Church -Climb the tower

    by suvanki Updated Nov 8, 2008

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    The stone steps to the Bells
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    After inflicting my bell ringing on the poor Corkonians, I headed up to the roof of the tower, to catch views over the city of Cork and beyond.

    The first part entails climbing the stone staircase - there is a rope handrail to hang onto. At the top of the staircase is a room containing the mechanical workings of the clocks (pics 2 and 3) Then you squeeze up a narrower staircase. Before this stage, there was another 'Health and Safety' notice warning that Ear defenders should be worn when passing by the bells. I'd not carried mine with me (after ringing the bells) and couldn't see any more in this room. I carried on expecting to find a pair.
    At the top of the stairs you find yourself face to face with one of the bells! Oh No! I crept past muttering 'Please don't ring' . There's a bit of a scramble through a wooden frame to negotiate here. I'm not sure if I was more afraid of falling here, or being deafened !

    The steps to the roof were covered in pigeon excrement and feathers- Aaaargh- all I needed was to be confronted by a flapping pigeon!
    I was pleased to reach the rooftop unscathed. The view over Cork was worth the climb, even if it was overcast with grey skies. I had a quick look around - Katherine would be waiting for me, and I had to get back down before the bells rang again.

    The 8 Shandon Bells (info from the Church of St Annes website)

    They were made by Rudhalls of Gloucester, and weigh over 6 tons! They first rang out over the city on December 7th 1752 for the marriage of Henry Harding and Catherine Dorman. They were recasted in 1865 and in 1906 they were hung in a fixed position so as to reduce vibration. It was said that when the bells were rung in a swinging position the patients in the local hospital, the North Infirmary Charitable Hospital shook in their beds.

    The original inscriptions are retained on each bell:

    * When us you ring we'll sweetly sing
    * God preserve the Church and King
    * Health and prosperity to all our benefactors
    * Peace and good neighbourhood
    * Prosperity to the city and trade thereof
    * We were all cast at Gloucester in England by Abel Rudhall 1750
    * Since generosity has opened our mouths our tongues shall sing aloud its praise
    * I to the Church the living call and to the grave do summon all.


    The last bell, the tenor, weighs 26cwt. and also bears the name Daniel Thresher, a great benefactor of the Church, who, in his will, left money to provide this bell. It was the same Daniel Thresher who provided the Church of St Anne with a single bell before the peal was introduced. This bell, dated 1745, now hangs in the Church of St. Mary in Sundays Well.

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    Shandon St Annes Church- Clocks!

    by suvanki Written Nov 6, 2008

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    1 of the 4 faces of St Annes Church Shandon

    The tower of this church has 4 faces, on each face is a clock. The tower and its clocks are known by the citizens of Cork as 'The Four Faced Liar'


    The numbers on the clocks are made of gilded wood, which aren't uniform in thickness (they also tend to swell in wet weather) which caused the hands of the clocks to stick sometimes, hence each clock face showed a different time, but usually re-aligned on the hour. Apparently this has been sorted now, so the clocks are synchronised.

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Shandon - St Annes Church - Exterior

    by suvanki Updated Nov 6, 2008

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    Ekaterinburg and St Annes Church

    This Irish Protestant church is one of Irelands most famous Christian landmarks. It has an interesting history, plenty of folklore, views from the top of its tower, a legendary curator, and a chance to try your hand at campanology!

    From the outside, there are quite a few things to note.

    Since Medieval times there has been a place of worship on this site, originally dedicated to St Mary. Recorded as St Mary on the Mountain in the decretals of Pope Innocent 3rd in 1199!
    This building was destroyed during the Williamite wars and the siege of Cork in 1690. It was re built 3 years later on the nearby Mallow Lane, which is now Shandon Street.
    In 1722, the present church was rebuilt, and dedicated to St Anne.

    The badge of Cork has a background of red and white- which is a representation of the church. If you look at the tower, it is constructed of two types of stone. The red sandstone from Shandon castle, and the white (cream) limestone retrieved from the ruins of the Franciscan Abbey which stood on the North Mall. I'm afraid that my pics don't show the different stonework.

    The church towers base is 120 feet tall, above this is the 50 ft 'pepper pot'
    The walls are 7 ft thick!

    Topping the tower is a 13 ft weather vane in the shape of a gold coloured salmon, known locally as 'De Goldie Fish'- this represents both the Christian symbol of the fish, and the local River Lee, where salmon swim (and are fished) . The weather vane isn't solid gold- just painted in gold leaf.
    In Irish Mythology the salmon was the "Fish of Knowledge".

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    Ring the Bells of Shandon

    by evaanna Updated Jul 24, 2007

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    St Anne's Church, Shandon
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    The steeple of St Anne's Church in Shandon is visible from most parts of the city centre. On top of it is the eleven-foot long salmon-shaped weather vane also known as the 'goldy fish'. The church was built in 1722 and is world-famous for its tower with the carillon of eight bells commemorated in the song 'The Bells of Shandon', written in 1804 by Francis Sylvester Mahony, better known as Father Prout.
    For a fee of EUR 5 you can not only climb the tower to admire the view of the city but also have a hand at ringing the bells yourself. It's quite easy, you just need a little strength to pull the ropes - the bells are numbered and sheet tunes provided. I had to wait my turn to do that as there was a school trip from France before me and, obviously, they all wanted to have a go. They must have heard me play 'Molly Malone' on their way out. My palms were red afterwards but I thouroughly enjoyed it, unlike, I suppose, the people living in the neighbouring houses. It's better not to stay at the top of the tower while someone is playing - it's a deafening experience!
    If you go around the church, you will notice that two sides of the steeple are red - built in sandstone and the other two - in white limestone. Also the clockfaces on the four sides of the tower show slightly different times, but synchronise on the hour. Hence its name - the 'four-faced liar'.

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    Bellringing at Shandon

    by aaaarrgh Updated Aug 13, 2005

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    model of st anne's
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    Yeah, the property prices must be plummetting in the Shandon area of Cork, as 1000's of tone-deaf tourists ring "Three Blind Mice" and other tunes on their carillon of bells :-))

    I saw this activity listed in a Cork Guide and thought it would be a real trashy tourist trap. In fact St Anne's Church is lovely and for 6 Euros you can have a lot of fun too!!

    Its also near to Cork's Butter Museum.

    Shandon's church, St Anne's, has four clocks on its tower, tradionally all telling different times. Inside the tower are eight bells, tuned to an octave of notes. For the admission price you can play tunes on these enormous bells, unsupervised, by yanking the ropes in sequence.

    There are sheets of music for different popular tunes, with the notes numbered from 1 to 8. I couldn't believe my luck to find the Welsh National Anthem "Land of My Fathers" on top of the pile. And so I played it twice!!

    What is even more thrilling is the route to the top of the tower, and views over Cork. You have to thread your body between the wooden bell frame and through a tiny stone doorway. Well worth the scratches and scuffed rucksack, for the panorama from the balcony!!

    In May 2005 admission to the tower was 6 Euros (5 Euros concessions) for adults

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  • The Shandon Bells...

    by bobyn Updated Sep 11, 2004

    You can climb to the top, view the city, and you can ring the famous bells.

    This is often fondly called "The Four Faced Liar" by local Corkonians (fond nick name for Cork residents). This is because each of the four walls of the otwer has a clock, each telling a different time to the other, although they are right.

    More to come, and picture to follow...

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    Ringing the Shandon Bells at...

    by haimee Updated Oct 26, 2002

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    The Shandon Bells at St. Anne's Cathedral

    Ringing the famous Shandon Bells is worth the climb. Crib cards are provided to assist in ringing a tune or you can go at it freestyle.(I played 'You are my Sunshine')The top of the parapet provides a wonderful view of the city but be careful when climbing past the bells should someone be ringing them.(They are incredibly loud).

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Shandon St Annes Church - Views from the tower

    by suvanki Written Nov 8, 2008

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    The roof of St Annes Church tower offers views over Shandon below, and the panorama of Cork and beyond. Bring your binoculars with you!

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    the Shandon Tower

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Oct 12, 2004

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    View of Cork from the Tower

    Near the Buttery in Cork is the Shandon tower which one can climb for a great view of Cork. One can also play the famous bells there and there are examples of tunes to play, making for great fun.

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