Saturday, March 3, 2012

A visit to MacCurtain Street - October 2011

The MacCurtain Street area of Cork City was the focus for the October 2011 visit of the Cork Chapter. The morning event on Saturday, 22nd October began at Trinity Presbyterian Church where the Minister, the Rev. John Faris, kindly welcomed the group. He provided a most interesting talk on the history of the building which was celebrating its 150th anniversary. The Gothic-revival church was designed by Colin Tarring and is on a prominent site on the northern slopes of the city. Interesting features include stained glass and a 1904 pipe organ, the latter undergoing repair on the day of the visit. Following some refreshments, the group walked the short distance to the next venue.

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church on the Lower Glanmire Road was designed by George Richard Pain in 1832 and completed in 1836. It was further altered by Sir John Benson in 1873 and Gelrge Ashlin in 1894. Members of the Cork Chapter were warmly welcomed by Canon Leader who not only spoke about the history of the church, but also showed us some interesting items, including a beautiful chalice. As members of the group looked around the building, they were treated to a short recital on the recently renovated organ.

The group then moved to the nearyby Everyman Palace Theatre on MacCurtain Street for the next part of the morning's activities. While there is an ornate canopy outside the theatre, the rest of the facade is relatively plain. However, what wonderful history is to be found inside! Led by guides Eimear O'Herlihy and Naomi Daly, the group was treated to a 'Behind-the-Scenes' tour. The building began life as an ordinary house built about 1840 but was converted to Dan Lowery's 'Palace of Varieties' in 1897, designed by R.H. Brunton.; It was used as a cinema between 1930 and 1988, re-opening as a theatre in 1990. As well as admiring the wonderful ornate proscenium arch boxes and decorative plasterwork in the main auditorium, members of the group were led through corridors and up and down stairs to see some of the non-public areas. This included seeing part of the original 19th century box office and old entrance. Our guides entertained and informed the group throughout.

After a busy morning, the Cork Chapter members had only to cross the road to Isaac's Restaurant for a hard-earned and relaxing lunch. Thanks to all those who helped to organise the event and to our welcoming hosts throughout the morning.

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