Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, County Cork

The three graceful Gothic spires of Cork’s imposing and highly ornamented Church of Ireland cathedral are visible from all over the city. It stands very near the South channel of the River Lee, the site where, in about AD 600, Cork’s patron Saint, the scholarly, fair-headed St Fin Barre, built a monastic school that attracted scholars from all over Europe.

The present building is the third cathedral on the site. The medieval cathedral was badly damaged in the siege of Cork by the English in 1690, replaced in 1735, to be replaced again by the present building. Designed in the French Gothic style, it was completed in 1870.

Inside are some rich carvings and fine mosaics. Also displayed is a cannon ball that was fired during the siege of 1690 and afterwards found in the tower. A brass memorial commemorates Elizabeth Aldworth, the only woman who was ever made a Freemason. As a young girl, in 1712, she hid and listened in on the proceedings of her father and other Masons, at her home in Doneraile. But she was discovered, and to ensure that she kept their secrets she had to be enrolled in their masonic lodge.

St Fin Barre’s Cathedral is a must see on your tours of Ireland.