Cork cathedral gets grant for emergency repairs

Mon, Jun 25, 2012, 01:00

A “SIGNIFICANT crisis” has been averted at a historical Church of Ireland cathedral in Cork following the allocation of a grant of €212,000 for emergency repairs.

Dating from the 1860s, St Fin Barre’s was the first major work of Victorian architect William Burges. It is a recorded monument, a protected structure, and is rated as being of international importance in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. It attracts thousands of visitors every year.

The Dean of Cork, the Very Rev Nigel Dunne, said he greatly welcomed the allocation from the Government at a time of severe economic constraint.

“This funding is absolutely crucial to us keeping open all areas of the cathedral, if not the cathedral itself. The deans’ chapel, used every day for services and private prayer, is an essential component of our visitor experience, and the stonework, plasterwork and marble in the chapel has been rapidly deteriorating over the last two years. It was coming close to the point of having to be closed to the public.”

Dean Dunne said several large gargoyles on the outside were also coming to the point of having to be removed in the interest of public safety. The stonework over the main entrance was suffering badly and was letting water into the cathedral – this would also be dealt with on foot of this funding.

The dean added that they were nearing the completion of the restoration of the cathedral organ, which was already putting them under severe financial pressure.

“The prospect of facing into other serious issues with the building itself has been frightening. We will still have to deal with a deficit of around half a million euro when the organ and the emergency works are complete, but I have no doubt that we will eventually pay this off with the continued generosity of the people of Cork and beyond.”

As well as the money for St Fin Barre’s cathedral, €500,000 is being allocated to assist with work to safeguard at-risk structures in 41 projects across 27 local authorities.

Other structures which will benefit from this fund include Shandon Tower and Alms House in Glanmire, Co Cork.