The illustration shows a view of St. Fin Barre's Cathedral from the south-east in 1871 before the spires were added. The cathedral was consecrated on 30 November 1870 but the towers and spires were not completed until 1879. Two local businessmen Francis Wise and William Crawford donated £30,000 towards the cost of the towers and spires. On 6 April 1878 Bishop John Gregg laid the top stones on the western spires. His son and successor as Bishop, Robert Samuel Gregg, laid the top stone on the central spire in 1879.
The perspective taken by the artist is almost the same as the perspective adopted by the photographer who took one of the photographs of the laying of the foundation stone in 1865.
Corresponding article from the Irish Builder