Heritage Sites: Christ Church, Cork City

Christ Church in Cork City, designed by John Coltsman and completed by 1725, is now a cultural and artistic centre managed by the Triskel Arts Centre.

View of the west face of Christ Church, Cork City.

Situated in the east side of South Main Street in Cork City is Christ Church. The church occupies the site of the medieval parish church of the Holy Trinity, where the poet Edmund Spenser married Elizabeth Boyle in 1594. The church was damaged in the siege of 1690 and was demolished in 1717 to make way for the current building. The current church was designed in the neoclassical style by John Coltsman and was completed by 1725. It originally had a tower and spire which have been removed. About 1828 the interior was remodelled and a classical three door portico with ionic columns was added to the west front facing Main Street by George Richard Pain. Further alterations were made in 1878 including the installation of a Thomas Christopher Lewis organ. The church has a gabled roof and is constructed of limestone cut stone blocks. The west face of the building has round-headed windows on the upper floor and square-headed on the ground floor and three round-headed doorways. There is a semi-circular apse with round-headed windows on the east side of the building that was added in the nineteenth century.

View of the galleried interior of Christ Church, Cork City.

The church ceased to be a place of worship in 1978 and was acquired by Cork City Council the following year to house the Cork Archives Institute. Following the relocation of the Archives Institute in 2005 the building underwent refurbishment. In 2011 the Triskel Arts Centre took on the management of the building and is developing it into a cultural and artistic centre for the city. The church has been fully incorporated into Triskel and is wheelchair accessible, along with lifts and stairs. There is a viewing area for the crypt so that members of the public can see some of the burial vaults. There is a 16th century ornate grave slab belonging to former mayor of Cork Thomas Ronan that is often referred to as the Modest Man of Christ Church.

Christ Church is open to the public for free 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday. The evenings are usually set aside for cinema and music performances. Guided historic tours are available Tuesdays at 12 and Thursdays at 2 for €3 and last about an hour. The cost of the tour also includes a discount in our café and for cinema tickets.

Google Maps image of the location of Christ Church in Cork City.

GPS coordinates 51.897231,-8.476478

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