On 27th May last members of the Catholic Heritage Association and friends from far and near made a pilgrimage to St. Brendan's Cathedral, Loughrea, for a Traditional Latin Mass. I was very struck by the kind hospitality of the Cathedral team and to the gentle reverence of the Liturgy that we joined.
If you haven't been to Loughrea Cathedral - and one of the best things about the Catholic Heritage Association is that we devoutly go where few have gone before - you really should see this magnificent House of God. While almost all of our Churches - prayers in stone - are in the language of Greece or Rome or the simple words of poverty a few have tried to recapture something that is distinctly Irish. St. Brendan's is predominantly gothic, which is an imported style, rather than the hiberno-romanesque that may be considered a native by adoption in the earliest days of stone church building, but by a happy combination of circumstances it contains so much fruit of the late nineteenth century Celtic revival.
The foundation stone of the cathedral was laid on October 10, 1897, and took six years to complete. The basic fabric is to the design of William Byrne. The cathedral features stained glass windows from An Túr Gloine, the famous Irish stained glass studio, including Michael Healy's Saint Simeon, Madonna and Child, Saint Anthony and Saint John, St. Joseph, Christ the King, Our Lady Queen of Heaven, The Ascension and The Last Judgement, a Saint Brigid window by Evie Hone, an Annunciation, Agony in the Garden, Resurrection, Baptism in the Jordan, St. Ita, St. Patrick and Centurion of Great Faith, all by Childe. There is also a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary by John Hughes, bronze angels by Michael Shortall and metalwork including communion rails, nave lanterns and stands by William Scott and Michael Shortall. The Stations of the Cross are mosaics by Ethel Rhind. The cathedral was very sensitively reordered with almost nothing removed - except the fine Episcopal Throne now reigning in solitary splendor in the porch under the tower.