Friday, March 2, 2012

A visit to The Masonic Hall and Triskel Christ Church in November 2011

The Masonic Hall & Triskel Christ Church - November 2011

The final event for the Cork Chapter in 2011 was held on Saturday, 19th November and proved to be a great success.

The day began with members assembling in the Masonic Hall on Tuckey Street in Cork city. There Dr. David Butler welcomed everybody and led the group on a fascinating and very informative tour of the building. The structure dates to about 1770 and was known as the 'New Assembly Rooms' and later as 'The King's Theatre'. Originally there were three shops at ground level. The first Lodge of Ireland purchased the premises in 1844 and there have been various alterations to the building over the years. In september 1970 a major fire at the adjacent Jennings furniture store threatened the Masonic Hall and caused considerable damage to teh top floor. In recent years the property has been upgraded and renovated. Dr. Butler explained the fascinating and complex history of the building and of Freemasonry. Amongst the most interesting artefacts are some of the furnishings from the old St. Fin Barre's Cathedral.

Having taken leave of the Masonic Hall, it was only a short stroll around the corner to Christ Church on South Main Street. This important building dates to the 18th century and is on the site of earlier churches, being located within the original medieval walls of the City. Cork Chapter member, Pat Houlihan, provided a most interesting and entertaining talk on the history of the church. Originally designed in the 1720s by John Colstsman, it was substantially altered by George Richard Pain in the 1820s. Being built on marshy ground le its original tower to 'lean' to such an extent that it was taken down! Pat Houlihan pointed out the many remarkable features of the building, including the interesting coat of arms on the balcony. The church was in use until 1978 and then housed the Cork Archives for many years. It has recently been completely renovated and sympathetically adapted for use as a venue for concerts, film and other public events, under the auspices of the Triskel Arts Centre.

The adjacent Arts Centre and restaurant has been linked directly to Christ Church and the group finished the morning visit by having lunch (with an early Christmas theme) there. Grateful thanks are due to our informative guides, Dr. David Butler and Mr. Pat Houlihan, for kindly speaking to the group. Thanks also to the organisers of the event.

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