St. Canice's Cathedral & Round Tower

The Cathedral Church of St Canice,
The Close, Coach Rd,
Kilkenny City, Ireland.

Phone : +353 (0)56 7764971

Mobile number: +353 (0)85 2527787

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The Organ, Choirstalls and Choir Side Aisles


The Organ

The organ is a fine 19th century Romantic instrument. Originally built by Bevington of London for the Great Exhibition of Dublin, it was bought in 1854 for £600. The organ remained in regular use, but gradually fell into disrepair. In 2005, a major restoration project was carried out on the organ by Trevor Crowe Ltd. The cost of this restoration was €650,000.


angel_carving_on_choistalls__cathedral.jpgThe choir stalls are made of Danubian oak, hand-carved at Bruges, Belgium in 1899 and based on the Bruges cathedral stalls of 1470. End panels depict scenes from the history of the cathedral. A matching reredos (panel behind the altar) proved controversial and was replaced in 1921.

Choir side aisles

(The rooms either side of the choir)
These have seen many changes over the years. Originally they would have been open to the choir, roughly as now. After the tower collapse, the arches were built up to strengthen the tower piers. Intermediate vaulted floors were put in, giving access to balconies either side of the choir. Part of the South aisle was an open unroofed yard.

The Southside aisle, used as the choir robing-room, is now home to the wall memorial of Bishop Roth (1642-50). In 1642 Bishop Williams had barely escaped with his life as the English Civil War led to a collapse of civil authority, not returning till the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Bishop Roth, a venerable and honoured Roman Catholic was appointed to the vacant see. He played an important role n the Confederation of Kilkenny. Indeed, it was partly because he was so crucial, and too aged for travel that it took place in St Canice's at all. It is telling that when Bishop Williams returned after suffering mightily to Puritan intolerance, he left Roth's monument untouched.

Cathedral Choir

The Cathedral Choir is under the Leadership of Organist and Choirmaster Malcolm Proud. The choir practices each Friday evening and sings at most Sunday Services as well as concerts and special services.

'O pastor pie Cannice'
This medieval manuscript has been the subject of a project by Dr Ann Buckley in Trinity College Dublin to publish offices for Irish Saints.
This 15th Century service book known as the 'Clondalkin Breviary' contains the Office for St Canice. The office was probably composed in response to a decree in the episcopal constitutions of Archbishop Alexander de Bicknor in 1320 requiring that feastdays of Irish Saints be observed.
Canice's feast was ranked as a 'major double' with 9 lections and so also included Second Vespers in its cycle of hours. It is a rhymed office although the modal ordering is not regular.
There is reference to Ossory and Kilkenny in the Magnificat antiphon for 2nd vespers.

'May the memory of the Father become sweet to his sons;
by his miracles Ossory grows strong;
by his holy protection Kilkenny flourishes;
by his prayers may joys be granted to us in our fatherland.'

The Cathedral choir joined Schola Hyberniae for a performance in Kilkenny, the first time for the office to be sung for a very long time in its native Kilkenny

To find out more information on The Organ, Choirstalls and Choir side aisles, contact St. Canice's Cathedral & Round Tower