Wednesday 16 January 2019

Iconic church steeple undergoes emergency repair work

The view from St. Anne's Church in Cork City
The view from St. Anne's Church in Cork City

ONE of Ireland's most iconic church steeples has undergone emergency repair work to tackle storm damage.

St Anne's Church in Cork - best known locally as 'Shandon Steeple' - closed briefly today to allow for the repair work to be carried out on the dome of the Church of Ireland building which celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2022.

The church - one of the famous landmarks of Cork's skyline - has been battered by a succession of winter storms including Ophelia and Emma.

Damage had gradually been caused to the critical lead lining of the dome which, if it wasn't immediately repaired, threatened significant internal damage to the church.

Engineers decided that the erection of scaffolding would take too long and would be prove too expensive.

So, they opted instead for a extra height crane which was able to allow workers direct and immediate access to the steeple and dome of the 160 foot (54 metre) structure.

The crane also had the benefit of allowing the works to proceed at a much faster pace than traditional scaffolding.

The work was successfully completed within an hour.

Engineers had insisted that there would be no absolutely change to the appearance of the famous city centre church which is part of Cork folklore and one of the symbols of the city.

The golden weather vane on top of Shandon steeple, in the shape of a salmon, is nicknamed 'the Goldie Fish' while the multi-faced clocks on the structure are known as 'the Four Faced Liar' because of their historic propensity to tell different times.

Shandon's bells also became famous thanks to a 19th Century ballad.

Engineers also conducted a detailed inspection of both the steeple and dome.

A popular tourist attraction, Shandon re-opened for public visits this afternoon once the works were completed and the crane was removed.

Construction work on Shandon began in 1722 and was finished within four years.

The church was built with red sandstone from the original medieval Shandon castle which stood nearby and pale limestone from a derelict Franciscan Abbey which stood on the North Mall.

Many believe Cork's famous 'red and white' sporting colours originated from the local fondness for Shandon's red-and-white appearance.

The first Rector of Shandon was Rev Arthur Hyde, an ancestor of Ireland's first President Douglas Hyde while late former Taoiseach Jack Lynch grew up within the shadow of Shandon.

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