The Church front gates ‘in situ’ since 1955 have finally gone for refurbishment. These gates donated to Bishop Lucey in 1955 following an appeal for finances and building materials – as he undertook the building of five churches located in the heart of new estates springing up around the city suburbs – were later discovered to be of great artistic and historical value. The gates fabricated by John Parry, one of Ireland’s Master craftsmen in the early 1900s, were specially commissioned for the Carnegie Library built beside the City Hall; and officially opened in 1905. The Carnegie Library was burnt to the ground in 1920 when British Crown Forces set the city alight. These gates are probably the only remnants of Carnegie Library that survived the inferno. The gates have been described at a ‘national treasure’ by noted blacksmiths and one of the few pieces of John Perry’s superb work in Cork city. The refurbishment is being done by Mr Pat Ronan and sponsored by the National Heritage Council.
The Heritage Council of Ireland, in its recent deliberations, awarded a grant of €15,000 for the complete refurbishment of front gates at Ascension Parish Church that have very significant artistic and historical value. The gates have been in-situ at Ascension Parish since its construction in 1955. They were originally the gates that adorned the grandiose Carnigie Library, in Anglesea Street, that opened to the public in 1905: and which was destroyed in the infamous burning of the city of Cork in 1920.
The gates, the work of Master craftsman, John Perry, in terms of design, stands out from anything else that was happening at that time, not only in Cork but in the entire country. Therefore, the gates are not only part of Cork’s heritage but are of national importance.
We are grateful to Mr Joe Murphy, whose company fabricated the steel used in the construction of the church in 1955, for bringing to our attention the artistic and historical significance of the gates – and for gently prodding us to preserve them for future generations. We are truly grateful to the Heritage Council of Ireland for awarding us the sum of €15,000 to restore these gates to their original splendour. Their website is found at www.heritagecouncil.ie
This work of restoration will begin shortly.