Cork’s famed Shandon clock may be out of action for some time

Cork City Council has warned that it will take some time to restore the city’s iconic Shandon clock to full working.

The council issued a statement yesterday after Irish Examiner reported how the clock mechanism behind the famous ‘four-faced liar’ on the landmark St Anne’s Church steeple had ground to a halt.

Local election candidate Barry Keane spotted that the famous clock had stopped working.

He said he believed the four clocks, which are the responsibility of City Council, have been stuck at five to seven for several weeks.

However, it has emerged that the clocks may have ground to a halt last July.

A spokesman for City Hall said they have been aware of the problem for a while, and have been liaising with the guardians of St Anne’s church.

City officials have inspected the clock mechanism, but he said that, taking into the account the historic nature of the clock mechanism, they are anxious to find the “right sustainable long-term solution” which will take time to assess.

“The clock has required frequent attention in recent months, as it has been repeatedly slowing down,” he said. “The maintenance engineer from John Smith and Sons Ireland has advised the council that major works need to be carried out if this is to be prevented from happening again.

“The costs associated with such works are not yet known. Before any decision can be made, the council will also need to consider alternative options, such as converting the clock mechanism to electronic control, as has recently been carried out to the clock at City Hall.

“Cost constraints, the historic significance of the original clock mechanism, and the value of Shandon Tower to the city and as a major tourist attraction will also be taken into account.”

A clock-making and restoration specialist called on city chiefs to consider engaging local experts to maintain the clock.

Third-generation clock- maker Philip Stokes, of Stokes Clocks in Cork, said: “We should be nurturing our own. Historic old clocks like Shandon need regular maintenance.”

Historic church bells

St Anne’s Church in Shandon is one of the most important early 18th century churches in Ireland and one of a small number which still retains their original 18th century bells.

The clock was erected by the then Cork Corporation in 1847 and was the first four-faced clock until the construction of Big Ben in London.

The clock was made by James Mangan, who had a clock shop on St Patrick’s St until the 1980s when Merchants Quay Shopping Centre was built.

His clock quickly became known as ‘the four-faced liar’ because the four faces did not always show the same time.

The clocks’ machinery weighs two tonnes and the clock faces are 4.25m in diameter.


Aileen Lee meets Christina Kenny - co-founder and design director of Lamb Design - to talk about her work and inspirations.Christina Kenny of Lamb Design: ‘I love bringing the outside in and inside out’

Tyrone designer Sharon Wauchob on her career and the worth of luxury fastion. By Paul McLachen.From Marc Jacobs to her own label, Tyrone designer Sharon Wauchob on her life in fashion

The recent sentencing of two teenage boys for the murder of Ana Kriégel has once again brought the issue of pornography into public discourse. The details of the case, which are finally coming into public knowledge, illuminate some very worrying trends that are pervasive in the modern adolescent world and as parents and indeed as a society we can no longer languish in complacency.Learning Points: Hardcore porn can pollute our children’s minds

HUSBAND and wife Justin and Jenny Green run Ballyvolane House, in Castlelyons, Co Cork. The mansion and former dairy farm, which was built in 1728, is where Justin grew up. Raised to Scottish parents in Hong Kong, Jenny met fellow hotelier Justin while working in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Having worked in the UK and Bali, they returned to manage Ballyvolane House, as an Irish country house, in 2004.Parents for the Planet: Green family has greener outlook at country house

More From The Irish Examiner