Cork City

St Vincents Church

St. Vincent’s Church: Located in Sunday’s Well. This Catholic Church which is so much admired is built in the Early Gothic style designed and planned by Sir John Benson, formerly of the City of Cork. A local lady Miss Mary McSwiney donated the site in July 1851, for a much needed church in the district of Sunday’s Well, in the parish of the North Cathedral (St. Mary’s) and to which a House of Missions and Retreats could later be added. The site comprised of her garden at the top of Wyse’s Hill, overlooking the River Lee, 100 feet immediately below. Messers. Walsh and Murphy, builders, obtained the contract for the foundations and basement of the church and began work in August. On October 24th, the foundations were solemnly blessed by the bishop Dr. Delaney. The collections in the City for the building fund were successful this year, notwithstanding the great distress occasioned by the famine of this and the preceding years. When the walls and roofing neared completion a violent storm from the south-west on the night of November 14th, 1853 between 9 and 10pm, wrecked the entire edifice: the roof and all the stonework on which it rested together with the upper part of the aisle walls were blown down. To the eternal credit of all the citizens of the City and friends throughout Munster and as far away as Dublin, the tragedy gained universal sympathy and most generous contributions were quickly forthcoming in answer to appeals. A fresh start was made in 1854.The fifty years between the solemn blessing of the completed church on July 20th, 1856 and its consecration on October 14th, 1906, were largely taken up with its embellishment, adorning it so that its decoration leads all who enter it to prayer and worship. Apart from the removal of the original High Altar and the raising of the floor of the sanctuary in keeping with the changes in Liturgical Worship at the end of the 1960s, the interior of the church appears as it was when consecrated.

The Eastern Window: This is the most striking feature of the church occupying almost the entire wall above the altar reredos, together with the beautiful West Window, the last adornment to be fitted. This large hand-some window commands attention first from any visitor. Among the many beautiful attractions of this church are the 7 double-panel windows that adorn the aisles south and north. Made in Munich by the best stained-glass manufacturers of that time, each of the windows merit close inspection and are justly praised for the accuracy of the drawing and their religious character. It will be noticed, too, that the windows on the south side are deeper and richer in colour than those on the north aisle to allow for the stronger natural sunlight and so leave a balanced illumination of the interior of the church’s nave. These fourteen windows are magnificent specimens of the perfection to which glass staining had been brought at the end of the 19th century and reflects great credit on both artists and the manufacturers, Messers. Mayer & Co. (Munich). Outside the main church door is the Clonakilty Famine Cross. A pine wood old cross dating back to the famine, from the chapel of the Clonakilty work-house. Thousands of victims were buried from the work-house chapel to a mass grave across the road.

Leave a Reply