History of St. John's Cathedral
For a century and a half St. John's Cathedral has been at the centre of diocesan life in Limerick.
Bishops have been consecrated, installed and laid to rest here. President, Taoisigh, Cardinals and leaders of Church and State have graced this place with their presence. Priests have been ordained here. The Bishop's chair or Cathedra is here, as are the stalls of the Cathedral Chapter. Side by side with the big moments, the Cathedral has also seen the ordinary and the every day. Spiritual journeys have begun here with baptism and ended here with a commendation for God's mercy. Faithful love has been pledged before this Altar and children have come here in succeeding generations to receive First Communion and to be Confirmed. Memories have been made here and lives have been touched and changed through time spent within its walls. It is God's house and our home.
Bishop John Ryan laid its foundation stone in 1856 a mere decade after the Great Famine. The people of the Diocese enthusiastically contributed to its construction, so much so that a project which began as a parish one soon became a diocesan one. Friends in the United States, Scotland and England also responded most generously to the initiative that was taken. The names of all those who contributed in the Parishes around the Diocese at that times are still to be found in the local newspapers of the age. A marked quality of the fundraising activity of 1850s was the generosity of the non-Catholic people of the Diocese. Their ecumenical concern and support were quite remarkable.
St. John's Cathedral has been restored almost every 25 years since it was built. It's consecration in 1894 by Cardinal Logue was preceded by major refurbishment. It claimed note attention in the mid 1920s and received a major work of restoration in the early 1950s under direction of Bishop Patrick O'Neill. Again in 1977, under Bishop Jeremiah Newman, the Cathedra was restored through the generosity of a fundraising campaign throughout the Diocese. A quarter of a century later Bishop Donal Murray launched the most recent renovation.
Faith of the People
Stone, stained glass, a marble Altar, a soaring rood screen, all these elements which surround you today are evidence of the of the faith of the people of the past. They now stand restored before us and bear witness to our faith in the future.
Welcome to St. John's Cathedral
St. John's Cathedral was designed by the English architect Thomas Hardwick. The foundation stone was laid in May 1856. By March 1859 the building was roofed and the Adm. of St. John's, Fr. Burke was given the privilege of saying the first mass ever in the new St. John's Cathedral.
The Limerick firm of Messrs. Hennessey was commissioned to design the tower and it was completed in 1882. The Cathedral was officially consecrated by the Most Rev. Edward Thomas O'Dwyer in June 1894.
Bishop John Ryan laid its foundation stone in 1856 a mere decade after the Great Famine1856
By March 1859 the building was roofed and the Adm. of St. John's, Fr. Burke was given the privilege of saying the first mass ever in the new St. John's Cathedral.1859
The Limerick firm of Messrs. Hennessey was commissioned to design the tower and it was completed in 1881882
The Cathedral was officially consecrated by the Most Rev. Edward Thomas O'Dwyer in June 18941894