Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 9, 2007
Chanting monks lured swine herder to a life of faith
Once in the monastery, he took the name Carthage, and developed great spiritual powers
St. Carthage – May 14
By TED FITZGERALD
It is a moving experience in view of the tumultuous history of Irish Catholicism.
The first stone cathedral was built on the site in 1207 and in 1363 the see was merged with the younger adjacent bishopric to become the Diocese of Waterford-Lismore.
Today, nothing remains of the series of buildings that served as the early cathedral except for a few grave markers.
The last building didn't survive the Reformation and over the years, neglected and unused, it fell into ruins, to be replaced later by the present Church of Ireland cathedral built in 1630 with later modifications. It's a popular Lismore attraction, is an active Anglican parish, offers tours for visitors, and publishes excellent historical and architectural guides to St. Carthage's.
Inside, the church is noted for its old memorial stones and images of popular saints - Patrick, Carthage, Catherine.
At the other end of Lismore's impressive, broad, tree-lined mall, sited appropriately at the intersection of Chapel Street and Chapel Place, is the 1884 Catholic Parish church of St. Carthage, an impressive example of Lombardo-Romanesque style.
Visitors are greeted by a statue on the fa‡ade above a huge Rose window of the church patron, who also appears elsewhere inside the large building.
Whether attending daily Mass or visiting for a prayer or a few moments of meditation, it is a moving experience in view of the tumultuous history of Irish Catholicism.
Many symbols of the Irish church are in evidence throughout the 1,100 person capacity nave.
Elsewhere, excellent historical guides to the town are available from the most helpful and knowledgeable staff at the Lismore Library, as well as information regarding the Catholic parish. It's an impressive monument in its own right, a gift of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie of uniquely Irish Hiberno-Romanesque architectural style.
The old classical style courthouse, now the Lismore Heritage Centre, offers audio-visual presentations highlighting the town, its heritage buildings and Lismore Castle, once home to renowned chemist Robert Boyle.
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