Known in the business as ‘The Wedding Cellist’, and more recently ‘The Garden Cellist’, I have performed in every county in Ireland and have a soft spot in particular for a number of churches in Cork.
As a church musician one is not the centre of attention and we usually position ourselves at the back of the church or in the organ gallery. This takes ‘the pressure off’!
As one arrives at a church before the ceremony, one has the opportunity to study the surroundings. The first thing that always strikes me in the Honan Chapel is the mosaic floor, whose design is based on the signs of the zodiac and then the magnificent Harry Clarke windows. The acoustics in the Honan are very special and for this reason it is such a joy to play there. A critical musician is only as good as his last gig and a good acoustic inspires the performer, as do the surroundings.
A wedding in Honan is quite unique as every couple has some connection to UCC.
The Honan Chapel was built in 1916 from the estate of the Honan family.
The chapel does not have any independent source of income and is totally dependent on the generosity of others for it’s funding. Therefore it is dependent on the fee from marriages for its upkeep.
Its construction was initiated and supervised by the Dublin solicitor, John O’Connell, a leading member of the Celtic Revival and Arts and Crafts movements.
It was funded by Isabella Honan, the last member of a wealthy Cork family, who made a significant donation towards the construction of the chapel.
O’Connell oversaw both the architectural design and the commissioning of its exterior carvings and interior furnishings.
In 1986, the sculptor Imogen Stuart was commissioned to oversee the building and installation of a new altar and other carvings, furnishings and fittings.
The Honan Chapel was one of the first modern Irish churches conceived with a thematic design not directed by the clergy.
This Honan Chapel is a good place to start a tour of Cork churches in beautiful places.
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