DiscoverCathedral Chronicles#4: A Genius For Dilapidation
#4: A Genius For Dilapidation

#4: A Genius For Dilapidation

Update: 2022-05-03


In this episode we will hear about a visit to Newry of Daniel O’Connell and a controversial meeting held by Bishop Michael Blake at the cathedral in O’Connell’s honour. We’ll learn how, just over a decade after its dedication, the cathedral was in such a state of dilapidation that it drew public criticism from the English novelist, William Makepeace Thackeray. We will discover how the Bishop responded to Thackeray’s criticism by conducting further work on the cathedral by the Newry architect W.J Barre. We'll meet the Dominican, Dr Pius Leahy, the Bishop of Dromore who did not want the job.

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This episode was written, produced, and presented by me, Mark Byrne, with additional material adapted from the work of Reverend Edward Campbell and other sources. Check the description for details. Our guest contributor was Anthony Russell with Fr Callum Young as Thackery, Dalton Short as the Newry Telegraph reporter and Micheál Murphy as Bishop Blake. Sound effect © 2022 BBC.


‘Cathedral of SS. Patrick and Colman Newry – Brief historical and descriptive survey’, Rev. Edward Campbell. P. Bennett, Hill Street, Newry, 1948. Various newspaper sources as detailed in the podcast.

John Pius Leahy, O.P., Bishop of Dromore. The Irish Monthly , Nov., 1890, Vol. 18, No. 209 (Nov., 1890), pp. 561-570 Published by: Irish Jesuit Province.

Newspaper articles:

1. The Newry Telegraph, April 11th 1839, ‘Mr. O’Connell in Newry’, ‘O’Connell in Newry’.

2. Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, Friday December 13th 1839, Great meeting in Newry – O’Connell Tribute’.

3. Freeman’s Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, Wednesday, June 28th 1848, ‘Newry Cathedral – A New Organ’.

4. The Newry Telegraph, September 20th, 1851, ‘Improvements in Newry Roman Catholic Cathedral’.

5. Freeman’s Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, Monday, June 28th, 1880, ‘The Late Very Rev. Father Pacificus’.


Original music ‘Piano Trio in G 1. Allegro Moderato’ composed specially for this series by Kevin Canavan. ©2022 Kevin Canavan. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright information

Cathedral Chronicles is produced by a team of volunteers with the cooperation of Newry Cathedral Parish and the Diocese of Dromore. Neither Newry Cathedral Parish nor the Diocese of Dromore claims ownership of, or responsibility for, the content of this podcast. ©2022 Mark G. Byrne. All Rights Reserved.


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#4: A Genius For Dilapidation

#4: A Genius For Dilapidation

Cathedral Chronicles