I'm not a religious person but I find churches fascinating. All other buildings are liable to be changed, demolished or ruined, but churches in general can survive basically unchanged for hundreds of years.
A simple micro multi to show off the architectural prowess and location of Cobh Cathedral. Recommended during the day, and preferably during nice sunny weather as there are some great views!
St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh
St. Colman’s Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Cathedral located in Cobh, Ireland. It is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Cloyne.
The Cathedral of Saint Colman is a large, elaborately detailed neo-Gothic building. It is prominently sited overlooking Cork harbour and visible for quite a distance. Local people are generally very proud of it and tourists (cachers!) often climb the steep hill to admire and photograph it. The historian Emmet Larkin has called it "the most ambitious building project undertaken by the Church in nineteenth-century Ireland", and Frederick O'Dwyer states that it was "certainly the most costly Irish ecclesiastical building of the Victorian era".
Cobh Cathedral probably enjoys the most advantageous position of any Irish cathedral. Because of its superb hillside site, it dominates the quay in a most imposing way, standing proudly clear of all neighbouring buildings. The exterior detail is intricate, elegant and well proportioned in a way typical of French sophistication. Its south front faces out to the sea, and viewed from the town, it bristles with flying buttresses, gargoyles, spirelets and pinnacles, giving the impression of a great Bucentaur.
Cobh Cathedral is in Early French Decorated Gothic style and is one the best examples of the Gothic Revival in 19th century Ireland. The architects were E.W. Pugin, George Ashlin and Thomas Coleman. The clerk of works was Charles Guilfoyle Doran. The ground plan is in the form of a Latin cross with long arm extending from east to west.
Soon after plans for a new church on the site were realised, it was decided that the proposed building would function not only as a parish church but as a cathedral for the Diocese of Cloyne. The original thirteenth century cathedral of the diocese, situated in the small east Cork town of Cloyne, was owned by the Church of Ireland. Queenstown, as the largest town in the diocese, seemed a better location for the Roman Catholic Cathedral. The building would be dedicated to the diocesan founder, St. Colman (522 - 600).
In 1868, when the Cathedral was begun, Cobh or Queenstown as it was then called, was a relatively prosperous place. This was because it was Ireland's principal emigration outlet. More than five million people emigrated from Ireland in the nineteenth century - mainly to the United States, Australia and Canada and a large proportion of them left from Queenstown. The town's existing Catholic Church which was constructed in 1808 and added to afterwards, began to seem inadequate. A meeting of the Queenstown parishioners was therefore called in January 1858, and the following resolution was passed:
Considering the very insufficient and in several respects unsatisfactory accommodation which our present parish church is capable of affording; and considering also the rising importance and increasing respectability of this town, it is incumbent on us as Catholics who revere our religion and are anxious to see it respected to provide a more suitable Church for the celebration of the Divine Worship.
The Cathedral committee, composed of respectable local citizens, was the official decision-making body in the building of the cathedral. The bishop usually presided at meetings, the parish clergy attended, and the administrator acted as secretary.
The old church was demolished, and construction of the new building was begun in February 1868. The preparatory work was difficult and expensive; the widening of the roadway on the seaward side required the construction of a "high, long, and thick wall of solid mason work" and because the foundations were dug from steeply sloping rock, "it was necessary in some parts to sink 24 feet below the level of the future floor of the church, while in other parts a firm bottom was found at a depth of only 4 feet". The first sod of the foundations was turned on 25 April 1868 and the foundation stone was laid on 15 July 1868. The foundations were completed by June 1869.
The cathedral was finally completed in 1915, after a total of 47 years construction. The foundation stone was laid on 30 September 1868 by Bishop William Keane. The roof was completed in 1879 and that same year the first Mass was celebrated on June 15 by Bishop John McCarthy. The last phase of the building work began in 1911 with the construction of the octagonal limestone spire. Three years later, on September 24, 1914, a 10.8ft. (3.3m) high bronze cross, blessed by Bishop Browne, was raised on the pinnacle of the 295ft. (90m) spire and the cathedral was complete. The last scaffolding around the tower was removed in March 1915, and the bells installed in May 1916. On August 12, 1919, more than half a century after the foundation stone was laid, the completed cathedral was solemnly consecrated.
The 49-bell Carillon of St. Colman's Cathedral in Cobh is the only such instrument in the country and is the largest in Ireland and Britain. It also includes Ireland's largest bell, named St. Colman (3.6 tons). The carillon is played from a console within the belfry, consisting of a keyboard and a pedalboard. The action is completely mechanical and there is no artificial assist.
The Cathedral is open during daylight hours, it varies but is generally open at all sensible times of the day.
And now the cache…
Since the aim of the cache is to show the location and site of the Cathedral, the starting point is down near the waterfront in Cobh town which offers a great and imposing view of the building. A simple bit of counting gives you the location of the cache itself, which is right next to the Cathedral. The walk will bring you past the Lusitania memorial and up Cobhs famous House of Cards hill, known as West View. It’s a bit of a climb (all paved) hence the higher terrain rating.
Cobh itself is paid (disk) parking, but there are two large free carparks. The first is near the beginning of the cache hunt, the second is near the end. You can walk along the port from the first if you wish, the port itself is closed to cars but open to pedestrians.
I have added a few waypoints of interest too for those out for the day, namely the Cobh Heritage Centre and the Lusitania Memorial.
Part 1 – Here, at the starting point of N51° 50.969 W008° 17.737 you get to see the imposing nature of the Cathedral. To find the coordinates of the cache, count the number of tall supports on the park gazebo (the big thing in the middle of the park). Note this as A. The park is open during daylight, but if closed you can count the supports from the road.
Part 2 – Work out the cache location!
It is at – N51° 51.10X W008° 17.65Y. Here, X = A – 8 and Y = A + 1
Don’t yank the cache out of its hiding place as you might break it, its easier to tilt it to one side first and get it out that way. Because of wind here, it was necessary to do what I did. You’ll see what I mean by all this when you find it ;)
Please return the cache where you found it with the notepad securely inside the correctly sealed plastic bag.
In the hints panel I have added a number of hints of varying obviousness!
Hint 1 is the clue A, as a word. Hint 2 is a gentle hint about the location of the hide. Hint 3 is a more obvious hint. Hint 4 is a spoiler!
I want to place a Church Micro cache too
The Church Micro IE series is open to everyone; if you have a church you would like to place a cache at then please contact THE_Chris through Geocaching.com. This is to keep track of the numbers of the churches and give you the general format for the cache page. In the UK there are ~1500 caches in the series so we have some catching up to do! Also, if you currently have a published cache at a church that you would like to include in the series, get in contact and we can add it.