Sunday 19 November 2017

Cobh pipe organ restoration launch

Deputy county mayor Cllr Anthony Barry, the Bishop of Cloyne, William Crean and Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe at the recital in St Colman's Cathedral
Deputy county mayor Cllr Anthony Barry, the Bishop of Cloyne, William Crean and Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe at the recital in St Colman's Cathedral
Michael Carlin of Cobh Credit Union, his wife Tina, Tony Mc Keown of Cobh and Harbour Chamber and Colm McCoitir of Keen House at the launch of the restoration appeal in the Bishop's Palace.
The Army Band of 1 Brigade playing a recital from the altar of St Colman's Cathedral following the launch of the Organ Restoration appeal.
Don Ryan and the Bishop of Cloyne, William Crean deep in discussion during the launch.
Army band members Bandsman Diarmuid Moroney and Sergeant Roy Doherty pose for the camera.
Adrian Gebruers examining the work in progress at the Fratelli Ruffatti workshop in Padua.
The chairman of the Pipe Organ Restoration Committee, Neil O'Carroll speaking at the launch.

The people of North and Mid Cork and other parts of the Diocese of Cloyne have been urged to lend their support to a €1 million fundraising effort to complete the restoration of a 110 year old pipe organ at St Colman's Cathedral in Cobh as well other refurbishment work at the historic church.

Built by the leading Irish organ builders Telford & Telford of Dublin, the organ was originally installed in St Colman's Cathedral in 1905 where it was located in the west gallery and its importance within the Gothic designed cathedral was quickly apparent.

Adrian Gebruers, Cathedral Carillonneur and Organist at St. Colman's Cathedral, explained that "The pipe organ was aptly described in "The Cork Examiner" newspaper of July 21st of 1905 as "the crowning work in the interior equipment of the sacred edifice."

The St Colman's organ features an Austrian oak case which rises to a height of 45 feet on either side with the openings filled with 77 highly polished and burnished decorative pipes of pure tin while the actual organ pipes - 2,500 of them - are placed behind the case, he explained.

The action of the organ was originally tubular pneumatic, but this was changed to electro pneumatic in the early 1970's. The console has three manuals and a pedal-board and there are 46 speaking stops, as well as combination stops and pistons, he said.

Restoration work began in 2015 when the Padua firm of organ builders, Fratelli Ruffatti, which carried out a similar restoration on the organ at St. Patrick's National Seminary, Maynooth and also built the new organ in St Mel's Cathedral in Longford, began dismantling the Cobh organ.

The organ was later delivered to the Ruffatti factory in Padua in October 2015, inside two 20 foot containers and all parts were carefully examined before restoration work commenced with completion of the restoration scheduled for autumn 2018.

The restoration will be done well in time for centenary celebrations of the Consecration of St. Colman's Cathedral on August 24, 2019 and, once it is completed, the organ will reside, side by side, with the only carillon in Ireland which, with 49 bells, is the largest in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Speaking at the launch of fundraising drive for the restoration of the organ and completion of a refurbishment of St Colman's Mr Gebreurs said: "The restoration of our pipe organ is essential for maintaining the high standards in liturgical music for which the Cathedral has long been renowned."

Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean said that it hoped to raise €1 million for both the restoration of the pipe organ and the completion of other refurbishment work to St Colman's Cathedral as he announced details at the weekend of the special fundraising campaign.

"This is a very important occasion for the Cathedral and our fundraising efforts for the magnificent organ. At the end of this restoration project, St. Colman's Cathedral will have one of the finest organs in Ireland and will continue to serve as a magnificent house of prayer and praise".

The launch was followed by a recital in St Colman's Cathedral by the Army Band of 1 Brigade, Cork, which played a selection of classics and musical favourites.

For further information about the restoration project visit


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