History of St. Patrick's Church and Parish

The Honans were well established in the commercial life of Limerick City before the 19th century. They moved their business to Cork some time after 1800. Their main premises were at 19/20 St. Patrick's Quay for the processing of butter, and 10/11 King Street (now McCurtain Street); the Metropole Hotel complex is now occupying the site.

Matthew Honan, born1815, became head of the household. He never married but continued to reside with his sister Isabella at the family residence in Sydney Place. He inherited from his father talents of self-discipline, hard work and an application to duty. Its been said of the father that he lived so frugally and was so adversed to wasting time that he took his lunch to his office like a schoolboy would, packed in a little satchel strapped to his back.

Unlike the Maylors, Dunnes, Roches and numerous other of the Cork mercantile class, the Honans remained severely aloof from public service, and in politics they were Unionists.

It was the Honan Family generosity made possible the building of the Brickfield Church, now known as St. Patrick's Church.

Closed vault of Catherine and Robert Honan.

Some of the unused open vaults

Rough plan of the vaults, it's date and origin is unknown, click on plan for larger version.

Rough Original Sketch Plan of St, Patrick's Church

The Pulpit, donated by British Army Officers in 1912

 

An extract from 'The Constitution' of 15th. October 1836, refers to a Patrick Leahy Esq., as follows;

Repairs to Churches

Sealed tenders will be received by Patrick Leahy, Esq., Provincial Architect to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for Ireland for the repair of Mddleton and Aghada Churches, in the Diocese of Cloyne, pursuant to Specifications to be seen with the clergymen of each Parish, and also at Mr. Leahy's Office, in the New Court House, Cork. The person making the lowest tender, will be declared the Contractor, on giving satisfactory references as to competency and security for the due performance of the work, and the Contractor will be declared on Monday, the 24th. inst., being the last day for the receipt of tenders.

Cork, Oct. 15, 1836

It is thought that Remains of Mr. Leahy are contained in the vault No.8, right hand aisle

Welcome to St. Patrick's Church
Established in 1832

Fáilte Romhat

The building of St. Patrick's Church began in 1832 A.D. It was to be a Chapel of Ease to the Cathedral parish and replace the "Brickfield Masshouse" nearer the river which stood further down the Strand Road in the vicinity of the present Glanmire Railway Terminus (Kent Station). Because a brick factory occupied this site it was called Brickfield Chapel. This name lived on in the new chapel although it was some distance up the road. It was the 1829 Emancipation Act that encouraged Catholics to select this prominent position for their house of worship. The building of St. Patrick's was entrusted to a young architect from London, George Pain, who planned a handsome edifice in grecian style..

The exact dates of the design and commencement of construction of the church are unknown. However, a map of Cork dated 1832 clearly shows a 'Friary' on the exact site of St. Patrick's.

The new church was first used for Sunday Mass on 11th. October 1836 but was not completed for many years later. The bell in the tower is inscribed "McSweeney 1843".

The original shape was cruciform. The side-aisles were added in 1894-95 through the generosity of the Honan family. The architect was George Richard Pain, who with his brother James designed other important buildings in Cork e.g. the Courthouse. The church was constructed in classical style and built of Cork limestone.

The priest in charge of its erection from start to finish was a curate of the North Chapel, Patrick W. Coffey. He organised collections and meetings and pushed on the completion of the more decorative parts of the work. His handwriting in beautiful penmanship appears continually in the parish registers from 1830 to 1847 when Fr. Coffey passed away. A plaque in St. Patrick's mourns his passing at the age of 42 years.

St. Patrick's Church was elevated tp the dignity of a parish Church on 1st. July 1848. The first Parish Priest was Rev. Fr. Michael B. O'Shea, who came from S.S. Peter and Paul's and was appointed by the newly consecrated Bishop of Cork, Rev. Dr. Delaney.

While John Murphy was bishop of the diocese (1815 -1847) the main organiser of fund-raising was Fr. Sylvester Mahony C.C. who later for literary purposes took the name of a priest he had known and admired since childhood "Fr Prout". He is best remembered now as the author of the poem "The Bells of Shandon".

St. Patrick's was constituted an independent parish in 1848 and included Mayfield and The Glen and extended out to include Ballyvolane. It is the Mother Church of St. Joseph's, Our Lady Crowned, St Brendan's and St. Oliver's while Holy Family Church was acquired as church-of-ease in 1949 from the Methodist Congregation.

At present there is daily Mass at 10.15 am. Sunday Masses 6.0pm (Vigil), 12.00 noon and 6.0pm.

The Symbols on the glass doors - a Book, Loaf and Cup - proclaim that in this house the People of God are nourished with the Word of God and the Eucharist.


Internally the church is finely decorated. The Last Supper over the sanctuary is the work of 18th century Italian artists. Around the main altar and tabernacle are four symbols of the Eucharist - the Pelican nourishing her young with her own blood; the Host and Chalice surrounded by the Crown of Thorns; the IHS (Jesus) monogram; and the "Agnus Dei', the innocent Lamb of God who was sacrificed.

A recess in the wall between the sanctuary and the statue of Our Lady holds what appears to be a relic of St. Patrick. The beautifully decorated holder set in a cross, bears a scroll which says "Ex oss. S. Patriti Ep' (from the bones of St. Patrick, Bishop), This was donated by Leslie Bean de Barra, one time chairman of the Irish Red Cross Society.

Regrettably, this cross was stolen from St. Patrick's Church on date and has not been seen since.

 

The Holy Family altar built over the vault of the Honans in the crypt, the statue of Our Lady (1877), and the altar of Our Lady of Good Counsel, (1901) are all gifts of members of the Honan family. The figure of Our Lady of Good Council is the work of Cork sculptor Richard Barter who had his studio in Blarney

The stained glass includes work by Hubert McGoldrick, 'Baptism of Christ' in the old baptistery (1924); 'Our Lady of Lourdes' by the Early Studio, in memory of Mrs Frank Sheedy (1941); and two windows high over the sanctuary in memory of Mr and Mrs Michael Lynch (1942). 'The Risen Christ with Angels' by Ethel Rhind a member of An Túr Gloine (1908) is in Opus Sectile in the mortuary, a style of painted fused glasswork developed in Victorian times.

A plaque in the mortuary commemorates Fr. Patrick William Coffey C.C. who served for 11 years in the parish "until the fatal year of the famine-fever when he fell victim to the contagion caught while attending the dying bed of a patient" and died on 17th June 1847.

The fine glass screen dividing the mortuary from the main church was erected in 1906 in memory of a former parish priest Dean Denis McSwiney and is believed to be by the firm of Oscar Patterson from the Glasgow Arts and Crafts School. The lower portion of the glazing was illuminated in April 2017, funded by Mairin Quill, parishioner.

 

There is an extensive crypt, to which access is not easy, underneath the church. Many people await their resurrection there, including the parents of the generous Honans. The last interment there was in 1870.

 

The Organ, built by Magahy of Cork in 1915 is, according to the Journal of the Organ Club 2006 "a handsome instrument, in a very fine case, standing in an arch on a very solid gallery carried on classical columns". Having been out of use for 30 years it was restored by Paul Neiland (Wexford) in 1997.

 

The large Crucifix was erected in memory of Daniel and Ellen Harrington who both died in 1891 and their son Joseph who drowned in 1875. (see 'the search for John Cotter')

 

The ambo was presented as a pulpit by the Catholic officers at Victoria (now Collins) Barracks in 1912. The 'Four Evangelists' were carved by sculptor Pat Honan.

 

Annie Moore, the first person to disembark at Ellis Island, New York was born in Old Youghal Road and baptised in St. Patrick's on 25 May 1874. (see also - Megan Smolinyak, Home Page)

 

It was to St. Patrick's that Frank O' Connor (Michael O' Donovan) was brought to make his "First Confession" by his big sister in his famous short story. His misery was relieved when the priest gave him not only absolution but also "Bullseyes". Big sister was not amused.

 

Among the sacred vessels in the sacristy donated at various times by generous donors is a chalice in Galway silver made in 1648 for the Franciscan community at Kilconnell, Co. Galway and presented to St Patrick's Church in 1859.

The following is Canon Liam's record on the history of the chalice and how it wound up at St. Patrick's Church;

An item appeared on the Cork Examiner on a Saturday 1996/1997 to the effect that a chalice that had been presented to St. Patrick's Church in 1859 was for sale at Mealy's auction rooms in Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny. I visited the auction rooms the following day and saw the chalice with the inscription under the base. Mealys would give no information as to who sent it for auction. It had a reserve price of €5,000 on the catalogue as well as a description that it was of Galway silver. It was not sold at the auction. Following correspondence with Mealys and after consultation with Bishop Buckley I recovered the chalice at a price of €2,500.

Aodh O Tuama of the Cork City Museum was able to tell me that Mrs. B Simms who donated the chalice in 1859 "as a suffrage for her husband John Simms" lived at Mountpellier Terrace, Wellington Road. He also gave me photographs of chalices made in Galway circa 1648, some of which closely resembled our chalice, and one in particular, then in the possession of the Augustian Fathers at Ballyhaunis. I took the chalice to Ballyhaunis where the Fathers allowed me to compare the two chalices. They were very similar; the inscription on the Ballyhaunis chalice is clearly legible while that on ours is practically illegible ( that is the inscription around the base of the chalice, not on the underneath the base). The inscription is in Latin. A Fr. O Conner, Augistinian based in Galway gave me the history of the Ballyhaunis chalice, researched by Fr. F.X. Martin O.S.A, eminent professor of history at U.C.D. That chalice too had been recovered from auction in Dublin in the 1950's ? on instruction from Archbishop Walsh. The inscription on our chalice, with help from the other chalice seems to be 'Orate pro patre Rogero Skingin sacerdote qui me fieri tecit ad usum conventus.......(liegible) 1648'. Roger Skingin was a Canon of Acnonry (or Killala) and a member of the literary O Scinnin family who were poets/historian to the O Donnells. He had two chalices made in 1648 in Galway; one for Augustinians at Ballyhaunis and another for the for the 15th. century Franciscan foundation at Kilconnell, Galway. This latter could now our chalice.What was the Simms connection ?. The chalice was presented in 1859. Mgr. Joseph Scannell was P.P. St. Patrick's 1945 - 1959 and was born in the parish. From the Baptism Register his mother appears as Simms for some of the children (6 times) of the family and as Simmons (twice) for others. I took the chalice to a silversmith who had worked at Egans, Patrick St. He recognised the chalice, having seen it before. He was Cyril O' Mahony, then trading in Castle St., Cork. His story was that when Egans was going out of business and property was being sold off he intended to open up a business on his own. A man came in with a lathe to sell and Cyril, seeing that the lathe would be useful in his business, offered him the chalice he had in his box in exchange. This man's name was O'\Sullivan, an engineer, a Corkman, but then living in Waterford. I do not know if this was the man who sent the chalice for auction. Mealys would give no name.

Liam Leader, 17/5/2006

Church records are quite extensive. There are over 40,000 Baptism records dating from 1832, 12,500 Marriages dating from 1836 and 9,600 Confirmations dating from 1911. The Register over contains Baptism Records from 1836 to 1872.

 

Parish Office: 021 451 8191

The Church was consecrated on 18th. October 1836, an outparish of the Cathedral. The priests who served the Congregation from 1836 to 1857 were as follows:

1836 - 1872 ......................................................William O'Sullivan

1836 - 1847............................................... Patrick William Coffey

1842 - 1849.. ...................................................... Dominic Murphy

1847 - 1871.............................................................. John Browne

1848 - 1857 ..................................................... Thomas Scannell

The Parish Priests who served the new Parish of St Patrick, (Established 1848) were as follows:

1848 - 1870 ................................ Michael Bernard O'Shea P.P.

1871 - 1878 ....................................................... John Falvey P.P.

1878 - 1887 .............................................. George Sheehan P.P.

1888 - 1893 ................................................ Patrick Riordan P.P.

1893 - 1906 .............................................. Denis McSwiney P.P.

1906 - 1923 ............................................. Michael Shinkwin P.P.

1923 - 1945 .................................................. Patrick Sexton P.P.

1946 - 1961............................................... Joseph Scannell P.P.

1961 - 1961 .............................................. Thomas Duggan P.P.

1961 - 1984 ................................................ James Bastible P.P.

1984 - 1990......................................... Jeremiah O'Sullivan P.P.

1990 - 2005 ...................................................... Liam Leader P.P.

2005 - 2008 ...................................................... John Cotter P.P.

2008 - (present) ........................................Daniel Crowley P.P.

Parish Map

Serving Parishioners from Rockspring

Terrace to Willis Square, Scoil Mhuire to Farleigh Place

 

Welcome to St Lukes!

You are very welcome to St Lukes, a long-established community on the hills overlooking Cork city centre. Our area got its name from the splendid Anglican Church building near St Lukes Cross. This Church of Ireland place of worship, which closed in 2003, is now in the care of Cork City Council.


The area known as St Lukes is centred on St Luke's Cross, one of Cork's best-known urban villages, with its own pubs, post office, shops, pharmacy and other services.

The historic tollhouse still stands at the heart of the crossroads, where payments were once collected from road-users. Nearby stands a horse trough, a reminder of a more leisurely age.

Holy Family Catholic Church is just five minutes walk from St Luke's Cross (west on Wellington Road, then right and up Military Hill: the church is on your left above St Patrick's Hospital/Marymount.)


Our church is called after the Holy Family, which makes a link with St Luke: after all, the Holy Family and the birth of Jesus is beautifully described in St Luke's Gospel.


He is a suitable patron for the area for other reasons too. The poor are tenderly portrayed in his gospel, and St Luke's Cross has always welcomed the poor. Its post office has the ancient Irish-language name of the area over the door: Crosaire na mBocht (the crossroads of the poor).


St Luke (a physician) is also the patron saint of doctors, butchers, pharmacists, painters and sculptors - many of the professions and skills associated with St Lukes. His feast day falls on 18 October each year.

This building, now known as Holy Family Church, within the St. Patrick's Parish, has accommodated Christians of many hues over the years. For its first 54 years it was a Methodist Chapel, then since 1949 it has served Roman Catholics on the north western portion of the parish. Its history makes this one of the most unique chapels in the province

The original Methodist Chapel was put in place as a chapel-of-ease to serve the officers and soldiers at Victoria Barracks, which was built on the top of this hill overlooking Cork City. Work began on the chapel in 1894 and its opening took place on 25 September 1895. It might not have been remarked upon at the time, but its opening day was actually the feast of St Finbarr, whom Christians in Cork honour as their first bishop and founder of the city.

Photos were recently donated which depict the church as it looked in 1905. The outside looks much as it does today, but the interior picture shows an enormous organ with choir stalls and minister's desk filling all of this space.

When the name of the barracks changed from Victoria to Collins Barracks early in the last century, this chapel was used less and less. Eventually it closed and local people convinced St Patrick's Parish to buy it, paying for it themselves. Some changes were then made to the church, with the organ being removed, its whereabouts unknown which is a great pity, given the church's fine acoustics: it's made for music! The altar and statues were added and the Stations of the Cross, but apart from these additions the building is recognisably the same as the Methodist Chapel it once was. Locals look at the heads holding up the pillars and wonder if these indeed are the faces of John Wesley and his wife, as a local tradition insists.

In 1949, on Sunday 23 October, the building was blessed by Bishop Coholan of Cork and has been used for the worship of God in the Roman Catholic tradition ever since. But acknowledging that, we also rejoice in the church's Methodist heritage and invite Cork's Methodists to remember its role in their story too.

A welcome is extended to all who are lucky to visit Cork and the parish, to continue the 120-year-old tradition of praise and worship within this Church's walls, by the holy Church of God.