North Cathedral Bicentenary Exhibition

Francis Moylan (b.1735 - d.1815) Bishop of Cork 1787-1815

• Born in Cork on 17th Sept 1835 in the parish of St Finbarr. Moylan’s father was one of the “Merchant Princes” of Cork. Educated in France, Francis Moylan ordained a priest in June 1761. Spent his first years in Paris as secretary to the Archbishop of Paris. Returned to Cork in 1764 to serve as a curate under Bishop John Butler. 1775 Francis appointed to the See of Kerry. Pope Pius V1 viewed Moylan as “learned and prudent, of moral integrity and greatly to be recommended”. • Moylan’s integrity and prudence needed when made Bishop of Cork in 1787. The rule of Bishop John Butler had declined into controversy due to his inheritance of the family title of Dunboyne and his marriage to his brother’s widow. The scandal threatened the Catholic Church in Munster. As such Moylan was seen as “an Angel of Peace to announce Good tidings”!!! • Moylan was a great admirer of Nano Nagle and Edmund Rice’s efforts to educate the Catholic poor. Supported their efforts to establish schools in Cork. 15th January 1799 Nano Nagle opened North Presentation Convent in Philpott Lane and Rice established a catholic school for boys in the Convent too. Eventually the boys moved to a new location, Our Lady’s Mount, or the North Monastery. • By 1802 Bishop Moylan’s ambitious church building programme was well under way with 17 churches built. But his decision to build a Cathedral was his enduring legacy to the people of Cork.

• 1790 Francis Moylan purchased plot on North side of Cork city as the site for his seminary and his new Cathedral. Money to build the project came from Corkonians of all denominations. Foundation stone for the Cathedral laid in 1799. Building completed in 1808. The stonework of the Cathedral was a mixture of limestone and sandstone found in local quarries. As construction was completed the Cathedral was recognised as one of the “outstanding” buildings of these times. The altar, manufactured in Lisbon, was the first of its kind in Ireland, an elaborate tabernacle of eleven feet high dominating the interior. • Opened 22 August 1808, the Cathedral of St Mary and St Ann united the two old north side parishes into one large parish. Solemn blessing was performed by the Archbishop of Cashel, Thomas Bray in a ceremony of “unprecedented grandeur” for the time. The coadjutor Bishop of Cork, Dr. Florence McCarthy preached the sermon. The first priest to be ordained in the Cathedral was Fr. John England. • Access into the Cathedral was through Rogerson’s Lane/Cathedral Street. The more dignified front entrance came much later. In 1813 Moylan also set up a seminary, St Mary’s College, close to the Cathedral a forerunner to St Finbarr’s Seminary in Farranferris. • Francis Moylan died in 1815 still Bishop of Cork. His funeral was the first public funeral permitted to a Catholic Bishop in the city since the 16th century. At Francis Moylan’s request he was buried in the crypt of his Cathedral.

Michael Murphy

William Delaney

Daniel Coholan


William Delaney was born in Bandon in 1804. He was ordained a priest by Bishop John Murphy in the


February 1924 in Kilmichael Co.Cork.


July 1858 in Kilmichael Co.Cork.

Educated: St Finbarr’s College Farranferris; Maynooth College.

Cathedral on 8th Jan.1826. He was ordained Bishop of Cork in 1847 having served as Parish Priest of Bandon. Bishop Delaney died in 1886 and was buried at the Ursuline Convent, Blackrock. As a sign of affection a statue was erected in his honour in the Cathedral grounds.

Educated: St Finbarr’s Seminary

Farranferris; Maynooth College.

Ordained: June 1949 for the dioceses of Cork.

Ordained: 1883 to serve the Dioceses of Cork until his death in 1952.



On loan to American Missions 1949-55; CC in Ballingeary 1955-56; CC to the North Cathedral 1956- 1961;Peru Mission 1961-64; Trujillo Mission 1965-69; President of Farranferris College 1969-1976. Appointed Coadjutor Bishop to Bishop Lucey in April 1976; Appointed Bishop of Cork on Lucey’s retirement in August 1980. Bishop of Cork 1980 until his death in 1996.


Curate in Kilbrittain; Member of staff Farranferris College; Chaplain to the Crown forces in Cork 1884- 1885; Professor of Moral and Dogmatic Theology in Maynooth 1886-1914.

Key Events/issues: He was responsible for the building of churches throughout the diocese, such as St Peter and Pauls, Crosshaven, Monkstown and Kilmurry. Bishop Delaney was also involved in finishing the building of the Cathedral Tower following the attempts of Canon Daniel Foley.


Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Cork in April 1914; Appointed Bishop of Cork in August 1916.



August 1952; Funeral Mass in the North Cathedral and buried in its grounds after. Bishop Coholan was 96 and had been Bishop of Cork for almost 36 years.


1996. Funeral mass in the North Cathedral and burial in the grounds later.

He was an eloquent speaker. Before his death he laid the foundation stone for Farranferris College, a seminary for the diocese, which had been a dream of Bishop Francis Moylan.

Key events/ issues: Very involved in guiding his Church through the turbulent political times of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Presided over the funerals of Tomas MacCurtain and Terence MacSwiney; reacted strongly to the violence of 1920 by issuing strong anti-violence sermons aimed at keeping his flock and his clergy out of the physical force movements of the day.

Key events/issues: Introduced new Diocesan scheme in 1981 for Parish renewal; spoke out many times on the unemployment situation of the 1980’s; instigated a complete refurbishment of the North Cathedral that was completed before his death in 1996.

Alphonsus O’Callaghan O.P


Bishop Alphonsus O’Callaghan was born in 1839 and studied for the priesthood in Minerva College, Rome.

Cornelius Lucey

John Murphy

Ordained: He was ordained for the Order of Preachers (The Dominican Order) in July 1893 and remained in their College in Rome until his appointment as Coadjutor Bishop of Cork.


July 1902 in Ballincollig Co.Cork.

Educated: St Finbarr’s College

Farranferris; Maynooth College; Innsbruck University.

John Murphy was born 23rd May 1772 and baptised on 14th June in St. Mary’s Cathedral. He was a descendant of the Murphy Brewing family of Cork City.



He died in 1916 and was buried in the Dominican Plot at St Josephs Cemetery.

Ordained: June 1927 for the Dioceses of Cork.


Head of Philosophy in Maynooth 1929-50; Priest to the mission of Turkana,Kenya in 1980 on his retirement as Bishop. Appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Cork in November 1950; Appointed Bishop of Cork on the death of Daniel Coholan in 1952 Retired as Bishop of Cork in 1980.

John Buckley

Ordained: He was ordained a priest on the 26th Nov.1796 and became Bishop of Cork on the 23rd of April 1815. He had served as archdeacon previous to this.



John Murphy died on the 1st of April 1847 and was buried in the crypt of the Cathedral.

Bishop John Buckley was born in Inchigeela (Uibh Laoire Parish) and studied for the priesthood in Maynooth.


Key Events/issues: Bishop Murphy oversaw the rebuilding of the Cathedral in 1820 after all but the shell of the

Bishop Lucey died in 1982 , Funeral mass was in the North Cathedral and burial in the grounds later.


building had been destroyed by fire. He entrusted the work to the architect George Pain; the ceilings of the present church were part of his work. He also commissioned the young sculptor John Hogan to design and execute the statues which would create a backdrop to the High Altar. These statues now stand in the Niches in the ceilings of the church.

Ordained: He was ordained in 1965. He became Bishop of the Diocese following the death of Bishop Michael Murphy in 1996.

Key Events/issues: Bishop Lucey was considered an authority on social issues and lectured widely on these before his installation as Bishop; As Bishop he

continued his interest in social justice with hard hitting sermons at confirmation ceremonies in the dioceses; he embarked on an ambitious church building programme in the late 1950’s with the construction of the so-called Rosary Churches.;also carried out extension to the North Cathedral in the 1960’s. On retiring as Bishop he went to serve on the missions in Africa at the age of 72.

Key Events/issues: He taught in the diocesan seminary, St.

Finbarr’s College and was made President of the college in 1975. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Cork and Ross in 1984, while serving as Parish Priest of Turners Cross. He initiated the programme ‘Pilgrim Steps’, which plans for the future of the Church in the diocese of Cork and Ross.

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