St Finbarr's (South) Church

St Finbarr's (South) Church: Dead Christ sculpture

John Hogan's magnificent sculpture of the dead Christ is situated under the altar in St. Finbarr's (South) Church in Dunbar Street.

Hogan was born in Tallow, County Waterford on 14 October 1800. His family moved to Cork in 1801 and Hogan grew up in Cove Street, close to Dunbar Street. In 1818 he became an apprentice in the architectural firm of Thomas Deane. Deane encouraged Hogan's interest in carving and sculpture. In 1820 Hogan left the firm and devoted himself entirely to art, partly inspired by the casts of the work of  Canova which had been acquired by the Royal Cork Institution.

He lived in Rome from 1825 to 1849 and it was in Rome that he first made a sculpture of the dead Christ. Hogan made three sculptures of the dead Christ. One of them is in St. John's Basilica in Newfoundland, one in the Carmelite Church in Clarendon Street, Dublin and one in St. Finbarr's (South) Church. The sculpture in St. Finbarr's was completed in 1832 and was exhibited in the National Exhibition on Cork in 1852.

John Hogan died on 27 March 1858.

Dunbar Street / Sráid Dunbar

Saint Finbarr's (South) Church - Exterior

Saint Finbarr's (South) Church: Exterior

Saint Finbarr's (South) Church on Dunbar Street is the oldest Catholic church in Cork city. It was built in 1766 replacing a church on Douglas Street which had been the parish church of the South Parish since 1728. The older church partially collapsed in 1760. The then parish priest Fr. Daniel O'Brien, a member of the Dominican order, set about the building of the new church with the help of donations from Catholic middle class families, among them the Gallweys, Drinans and Goulds. The families who contributed were later rewarded with family pews in the main aisle.

The original church, built of limestone and sandstone, was shaped like the figure 7 and was smaller than the present church. A major extension to the church was carried out in 1875 when a new sanctuary and sacristy were added. The materials used to build the church were limestone and sandstone.

Saint Finbarr's (South) Church - Interior

Saint Finbarr's (South) Church - Interior

This photograph shows the interior of Saint Finbarr's before 1958 with the old galleries and pulpit still in place. The galleries were added in the early years of the nineteenth century to cope with the increase in the population of the parish which then covered a much larger area than the present South Parish.

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the parishes of Blackrock, Ballinlough, the Lough, Turner's Cross and Ballyphehane were created from areas which were formerly part of the South Parish. The reduction in population of the South Parish meant there was no longer need for all the galleries. In 1958, Dean Coveney, the administrator of the parish, had the interior of the church renovated. Some of the galleries were removed and the pulpit was remodelled and placed inside the sanctuary.

Download these images in PDF format from the links below:

'Dead Christ' sculpture(144KB)

St Finbarr's (South) Church: exterior(245KB)

St Finbarr's (South) Church: interior(431KB)

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