ST PAUL'S CHURCH, PAUL STREET, CITY OF CORK



by Mike Stewart.
Notes on the building of St. Paul's Church.

St. Paul's Church Yard - Burial Ground; Crypt.

Location of the Parish Registers and other Parish records.

Rectors and Curates of St. Paul's with biographical notes.

Minutiae.

Bibliography


St Paul's Church in its new life as a Sports Goods Shop.
August 2013
Click to enlarge the photograph.



OVERVIEW

St. Paul's (Church of Ireland) can be located on Paul Street and adjacent to the Paul Street Shopping Centre in the city of Cork. Built during the years 1723 and 1726, this two-story church was designed to seat 600 persons. Its first divine service was held on 9 October 1726. In 1926 the Church was united to Holy Trinity Church, the incumbents of which looked after it until it was decommissioned and closed in 1949. The property was acquired by Guy & Co. in the late 1950's and occupied the site until 1997 when it became vacant. Rockfell Investments Ltd., the current owners, are redeveloping the site as part of a retail development that they call the Cornmarket Centre. As of May 2010, the first floor of the Church, used as a warehouse, is filled high with boxes and is undergoing interior renovations. The ground floor, a big room, is empty. Entrances to the crypt in the basement have been bricked in. The Cork City Council granted planning permission in 2004 (T.P. 04/27987) for this large development.
The former church and graveyard are listed in the Record of Monuments and Places (CO074-35001 and CO074-35002) as well as in the Record of Protected Structures (PS279). The Record of Monuments and Places is a list of known monuments and places of archaeological interest as outlined by the National Monuments Service (NMS), Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. It was added to the RPS in 2000 for architectural reasons.

According to the Planning Act of 2000, Architectural interest is attributed to a structure of good quality architectural design. The design of the exterior or interior may be the work of a distinguished, known designer. It may be an exemplar of a building type, plan form, style, or may make an important positive contribution to its setting (e.g. a streetscape or group of buildings in an urban area or in the landscape in a rural area).

The parish of St. Paul's was never the biggest, nor the wealthiest in Cork. Nor was the Church building seen as a highlight of town beauty. However, the interior of the church, with its decorated stucco ceiling and stained glass windows, has been noted positively as its features. The stained glass windows are no longer visible. Along with the churchyard and headstones, which today sadly lean against the inside of the perimeter stonewalls on both Paul Street and St. Paul's Avenue, St. Paul's holds a place of considerable significance to the descendants of its parishioners and of those interred.

Quote from 'The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Cork' by Charles Smith, edited by Robert Day and W.A. Copinger, Cork, 1893, p.337:
'St. Paul's: The church of St. Paul was built by a subscription of the parishioners; the ground on which it stands was granted by the Corporation to the late Bishop Brown, May 14, 1723, and divine service was, for the first time, celebrated therein by the Rev. Edward Sampson, October the 9th, 1726. By an Act for the union and division of parishes, &c., the East Marsh, belonging to St. Mary, Shandon, and Dunscomb's Marsh, in the parish of Christ Church, were, by the consent of the respective Incumbents, made one entire parish, called the parish of St. Paul, which, by a valuation on houses, affords a suitable maintenance for an Incumbent. This is a neat well-built church, with a carved gallery at the west end, and other parallel galleries; also, a handsome plain altar-piece, and a double range of pews well laid out; and the whole is lightsome, and regularly disposed.'
The notice posted on the left hand gatepost is a planning notice dated 17-09-09 of intent to build a 'fixed stainless steel canopy incorporating signage above the entrance to the premises on St. Paul's Ave'.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Pat Bullen.
Ciara Brett - Archaeologist, Planning and Development Directorate, Cork City Council.
Cornmarket Centre Management.
Carly Douglas - Assistant Librarian, Lambeth Palace Library.
Dr. Susan Hood - Assistant Librarian and Archivist / Publications Officer Representative Church Body.
Margaret Jordan.
Kae Lewis.
Niamh Twomey - Heritage Officer, Cork City Council.



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