Church of Ireland notes


The Representative Church Body Library is, inter alia, the archives of the Church of Ireland. Among its resources are important collections of architectural drawings.

The largest of these is a miscellaneous collection of 19th and 20th century architectural drawings of Church of Ireland churches and cathedrals.

The provenance of this collection is uncertain, but it seems likely it was part of the archive of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners who were established by the Church Temporalities Act of 1833 with a remit to encourage church building, and that it was transferred to the Representative Church Body at disestablishment.

Other drawings, mostly from diocesan architects, were subsequently added to the collection.

In 2011 the library secured a grant from the Esme Mitchell Trust to conduct a pilot project to digitalise and catalogue these drawings, and the architectural historian Dr Michael O’Neill was engaged to carry out this work.

Dr O’Neill, whose doctoral thesis was on the architecture of St Patrick’s cathedral, Dublin, has written widely on Irish church architecture, and is also the author of a well- received book on the architecture of Dublin banks.

Following the successful completion of the pilot project the library was awarded a grant under the Built Heritage element of the Environmental Fund by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Further support from the department, the Esme Mitchell Trust, Christ Church and St Patrick’s cathedrals, Dublin, and the Representative Church Body have allowed this project to continue.

So far drawings from the dioceses of Ardfert; Achonry; Armagh; Cashel, Waterford and Lismore; Clonfert; Connor; Cork Cloyne and Ross; Derry and Raphoe; and Dublin and Glendalough (including the two large collections form Christ Church and St Patrick’s cathedrals) have been digitalised, catalogued and uploaded to a website where they are available for consultation.

The most recent phase of this project has dealt with the Diocese of Raphoe. From this diocese 103 drawings, comprising 455 images from 21 churches, have been added to the database.

The purpose of this project is to make an important heritage resource freely available and, by providing surrogates, to assist with the conservation of a unique collection which is in part, very fragile. The project has already proved useful to students, academics, local historians and to the architectural fraternity.

The catalogue of drawings may be consulted at

Tomorrow morning RTÉ will televise a service with the people of the Cashel union of parishes in Co Tipperary, where the rector is the dean of Cashel, the Very Revd Gerald Field, who is also the honorary secretary of the General Synod’s liturgical advisory committee.

In Christ Church cathedral, Dublin, the cathedral’s Voluntary Choir will sing at the Eucharist, while in St Patrick’s cathedral the services will be sung by the Zephyrus Ensemble. Next Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday the visiting choir will be the East Wickham Singers, who will sing Evensong at 5.30pm.

On Tuesday the Munster retired clergy will meet in St Fachtna’s cathedral, Rosscarbery.

Summer Music at Sandford 2016 continues on Friday at lunchtime when the recital will be given by David Tobin (violin) and Shirin Goudarzi-Toblin (piano). Each recital begins at 1.10pm and concludes at 1.50pm. Admission is free but donations to the Sandford Organ Restoration Fund are welcome.