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Galway Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas

Galway Cathedral Church in Ireland

Also known as Galway Cathedral, the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Galway, Ireland. It is one of the biggest buildings in the city, as well as one of the most impressive structures.

The construction of this cathedral started in 1958 and was finished in 1965. It is the most recent great stone cathedral that was constructed in a European city. Furthermore, it was dedicated to two people; St. Nicholas and Our Lady Assumed into Heaven.

When was the Cathedral Open?

The Galway Cathedral was completed in 1965 and opened the same year. At its opening, the sermon was preached by Cardinal Richard Cushing and the sanctuary was lit by President Echeckamon de Valera. Also, four Archbishops accompanied Bishop of Galway, Bishop Michael Browne on the altar.

What is the Architecture of this Cathedral?

The Galway Cathedral was designed by John J. Robinson, an architect responsible for designing lots of churches located in Dublin and in other parts of Ireland. This cathedral’s architecture is influenced by lots of factors. Its pillars, as well as its dome, follow a Renaissance style. Furthermore, its dome is 44.2 meters high and is a major landmark in Galway’s skyline.

Although the architecture of this cathedral is one that puts it in good light with lots of people, as a structure, it is not free from some level of controversy. In an interview on The Late Show that was hosted by TelefÍs Éireann’s, Brain Trevaskis, a student of Trinity College Dublin called the cathedral a ghastly monstrosity. He went ahead to accuse Bishop Michael Browne of extorting people to build this cathedral.

Apart from Trevaskis’ disdain for the architecture of this cathedral, an Irish Times article recently described the Galway Cathedral as a squatting Frankenstein’s monster as well as a “monument to the hubris of its soft handed sponsors”.

What is the Music in the Cathedral Like?

Just like other famous cathedrals around the world, the Galway Cathedral is known for the quality of its music. Since it got dedicated, it has maintained an adult choir. This choir is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring music is provided whenever an event is held in the cathedral. This covers major services, events and Sunday morning mass which holds by 11: 00 am. 

The music performed by this choir includes Irish traditional music, Gregorian chant, and songs that date all the way down to the 16th century.

Galway Cathedral’s Organ

Although the pipe organ at Galway cathedral has gone through renovations, it was initially constructed by Rushworth & Dreaper, a firm based in Liverpool. After being constructed in 1966, it was renovated between 2006 and 2007 by Trevor Crowe, an organ-builder from Ireland. This organ has 59 speaking stops, as well as three manuals. It also gets used in summer concerts that hold annually and during regular services. Apart from the pipe organ used in this cathedral, there is smaller musical equipment. This equipment comes with four stops and one manual. It comes in handy during liturgies on a small scale. These usually take place in the chapels close to the cathedral.

Recent Happenings in The Galway Cathedral

The Galway cathedral was closed for a fairly long while because of the coronavirus epidemic. It, however, got open on the 29th of June 2020. Although open to members of the public, things are not the same as they used to be.

As against the tradition at this cathedral which involves receiving Holy Communion in the mouth, members now have to receive Holy Communion in their hands. While people getting Holy Communion in their hands is a major change, that is not all the change that has taken place. This cathedral is following government guidelines. Due to this, not more than 50 people can be in a section of this building at a time.

Since not everyone will be able to make it into the cathedral, those admitted will have to come early as admission is simply based on who arrives first. Those that fail to make it into the cathedral might not be able to enjoy the privileges associated with being seated in the cathedral. They, however, can hear what is being said in the cathedral as a very loudspeaker will be provided. That’s not all. They will be able to get the Holy Communion as it will be brought out of the cathedral.

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