John McCullagh January 9, 2008
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In its original form Newry Cathedral was significantly smaller than it is today. All the collected money and effort went into its outside construction so that the famous English novelist W M Thackeray, travelling through Ireland in 1841, commented as follows on its interior …

‘.. it is quite unfinished and already so ruinous you would think that a kind of genius for dilapidation must have been exercised to bring it to its present state ..’

Just ten years after that Bishop Blake had the interior decorated – though little remains today of his early work. In 1862 Dominican Bishop Leahy succeeded and he purchased the present bell. That was not mounted fully until the present Bell Tower was erected yet another generation later.

That last was the date of which we spoke earlier [1888] and it can be found embossed in granite towards the rear of the present structure. Extensive renovations were carried out under Bishop Leahy. The two Transepts were erected and within two years the Bell Tower was complete. A new Sacristy was added to the rear of the church and a new porch to the front. A High Altar, dedicated to Bishop Leahy was installed as were the present Stations of the Cross. The former alter was removed to the Old Chapel.

At the turn of the century joy-bells were installed in the tower. 

 

……. More on Cathedral later ……

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