Cork City church plans open day

An historic landmark Cork city church will host an open day and garden party next weekend to showcase progress on a major restoration project.

Fr Gerard Dunne, the prior of the Dominican community in Cork, will host the event at St Mary’s Church on Pope’s Quay to give people an opportunity to view progress on the restoration of the iconic buildings, and to see the full extent of what remains to be done.

The Dominican foundation is this year celebrating the 175th anniversary of its establishment in Cork.

The striking St Mary’s church and neighbouring priory building, both of which are some 200 years old, are in dire need of restorative repair and reconstruction.

The Friends of St Mary’s Restoration Committee has been spearheading a massive fundraising drive since last November to raise funds for urgent restorative repairs and dry-coursing required in both the church and priory buildings.

Both are badly affected by the ingress of water through leaks in the roofs, walls, and windows. Damp seepage through the walls of the buildings have made the problems worse.

Initial engineering assessments have estimated the full cost of repair and restoration works at close to €500,000.

Fr Dunne OP has now decided to host the open day to raise more awareness of the entire project.

The event takes place on Sunday, August 16 from 2.30pm to 5pm, with afternoon tea and finger food available in the priory garden, with entertainment provided by the Band of the 1st Brigade based at Collins Barracks, Cork.

Members of the Dominican community and volunteers will recount the history of the church priory and lead visitors on a tour of the buildings where people can learn of the history of the order in Cork, and also view some of the historic memorabilia. Visitors will also be briefed on the renovation and restoration project.

The Dominicans can trace their roots in Cork back to 1229, when they built a church on an island in the south channel of the River Lee, just outside the ancient city walls.

By 1729, the friars were living off Shandon St, where they built a chapel known as Sand Quay Chapel, where Nano Nagle worshipped.

In 1784, the Dominicans built a priory and church on the site on which the historic Shandon Castle stood. It was their home for 50 years until they moved to Pope’s Quay.

The foundation stone of the present-day church was laid in 1832. It opened in 1839. The entrance is off Mulgrave Road.


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