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  Story of St Eugene's  
The Cathedral Interior  
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The Interior

The Great Western Door and Porch
The porch lies directly inside the main entrance, flanked by twin doors separated by a granite column. It has recessed orders with a pointed arch executed in restrained moulded granite. On the wall to the right of the main doors are two plaques - one commemorating the blessing of the Cathedral on 17th December 1989 by Bishop Edward Daly, following the completion of the re-organisation of the sanctuary and internal restoration. The second plaque displays the names of the four Bishops buried at the Cathedral. Three are buried in the crypt. Bishop Neil Farren (1939-1973) is buried outside. A new secondary porch, similar in design to the outer porch was erected in 1989, as was the small porch in the north aisle. The door on the right of the ‘secondary porch’ is the entrance to the spiral staircase which leads to the organ gallery and the door on the left leads to the belfry.

On passing through the entrance doors, the visitor is struck by the artistic beauty of the interior. It is in keeping with the Cathedral’s outward imposing and beautiful appearance.

The plan of St. Eugene’s is a simple one of neo-gothic expression. A lofty, seven bay nave - 160ft (49m) in length and 35ft (10.5m) wide is flanked on either side by aisles of equal length. Beyond the great chancel wall are another two bays and two side alters. At the northeast corner is a small, two storey sacristy block which was extended and refurbished in the late 1980s. The sacristy has Tudor style windows with different stone facing as opposed to the middle gothic style of the windows elsewhere in the Cathedral.

Above the nave arcades is the clerestory with twelve pointed windows, glazed in clear glass. Between the windows, the pine ribs of the valuted ceiling reach down in the form of pilasters, terminating on sculptured heads commemorating saintly personages of Ireland’s past. Depicted on the ceiling is the oak leaf and the Cross. These were painted by the firm of Carlin Decorators, Derry, during the internal restoration work in 1989.

The pews in the nave and aisles are made of oak and were manufactured by Messrs. O’Neill Bros., Derry, in 1989.


The Organ Gallery.
Entering the main body of the Cathedral, you will pass under the supports of the organ gallery which was extended in 1904. The work was carried out by Messrs. Courtney & Co, Belfast. The slender columns of the gallery contrast with the massive octagonal sandstone pillars of the nave arcades. At the top of each column there is a ring of oak leaves with a dove nestling among them; these are symbols of St Columba, Patron Saint of Derry. (Derry derives its name from the Irish ‘Doire Calgach’ meaning ‘The Oak Grove of Calgach’. Calgach was a pagan warrior who had his camp on the ‘island of Derry’ in pre-Christian times). Surrounding the organ gallery are angels holding musical instruments. There is also a carved Latin inscription which reads: ‘Laudate eum in tympano et choro, laudate eum in chordis et organo’ (‘Praise him with drum and dance. Praise him with strings and pipes’) Ps. 150.

Looking up from the body of the
church towards the rear of the nave,
a high pointed arch rises behind the
organ gallery and beyond it the
magnificent Telford & Telford Organ
which was installed in 1873. Behind
the organ is a large stained glass
Rose Window with a Celtic pattern,
which was installed in 1920. This was
the only window in the Cathedral to
be designed by Clokey & Co. All the
other stained glass windows were
the work of Meyer, Munich.


North Aisle.
At the rear of the North Aisle is a large stained glass window depicting Saint Columba blessing Derry. The window above the side porch depicts the Agony In The Garden as as one proceeds up the aisle, the themes of the windows are as follows:

• The First Communion of St. Aloysius

• The Raising of Lazarus

• The Blessed Virgin giving the Rosary to St. Dominic

• The Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem

• Christ blessing the Children

• Christ appearing to St. Margaret Mary.

The Stations of the Cross are located on both aisles. Their meaning can be clearly and easily interpreted. It is thought that they were made by itinerant Italian stone masons who travelled around Ireland carrying out work in many Irish churches.

Red circles with a gold cross were painted on the walls for the consecration of the Cathedral. These crosses were anointed during the consecration ceremony. Above each circle is a candle sconce. Candles are traditionally lit each year on the anniversary of the consecration (21st April) and on the feast of St Eugene (23rd August).

Baptismal Font

Located directly at the top of the North Aisle is the circular baptismal font, made of white Carrara marble by Stone Developments, Ballinasloe, in 1989. The quotation circumscribing it reads: ‘Springs of water, Bless the Lord, Give him Glory and Praise forever’. The quotation is punctuated by a carving of a large oak leaf, the symbol of St. Columba, Patron Saint of Derry.

The carved wooden statues on the ledge above the sacristy door were part of the wooden canopy of the original pulpit erected in 1906 and removed during the restoration work in 1989. It was designed by E.J. Toye and carved in Austrian oak by the firm Ferdinand Stuflesser & Co., Austria.


Blessed Sacrament Alter

As part of the permanent re-organisation of the sanctuary in 1989, a new side altar of Sardinian granite was installed. The altar is used by visiting priests saying Mass or when there is a small congregation present.

The original reredos (panelling at the back of the altar) has been retained. Made of Caen stone and Irish marble, the reredos is sculptured in huge relief and depicts the Twenty-four Elders with crowns upon their heads, holding harps and adoring the figure of the Lamb. The two groups stand under arched and recessed canopies.

There is a canopied niche at both sides of the reredos. Saint Peter the Prince of the Apostles is on the left hand side holding the keys of the Kingdom (a symbol of the Papacy) and a book. Saint Paul is on the right hand side holding a sword and a book. In the wall at the side of the altar is an ornately carved sacrarium. This was the place where the water, used to wash the altar linen was poured. The stained glass window at the back of the altar depicts the Last Supper.


Main Altar

In the major renovation undertaken in 1989 a new square altar of Carrara marble was placed under the chancel arch. The floor of the sanctuary was extended and completed in polished Sardinian granite. The ambo, tabernacle stand and celebrant’s chair were constructed from Carrara and Macedonian marble. The design of the celebrant’s chair was kept simple so as not to distract attention from the Bishop’s chair which is placed behing it.

The stone and marble were supplied and fashioned by Stone Developments, Ballinasloe, and Feely & Sons, Boyle, Co. Roscommon.

The symbolic oak leaf appears on the edge of the carpet on the sanctuary floor. The carpet was manufactured and laid in 1989 by Craigie Ltd., Ayrshire, Scotland.


Sanctuary Lamp

The large ornate brass sanctuary lamp which is suspended from the ceiling above the main altar was installed in the Cathedral in 1906. It was designed by a Dublin architect, Thomas Coleman and manufactured by the Dublin firm, Gunning & Reynolds. The top of the lamp is in the shape of a crown and studded with red and blue glass. The lamp was originally estimated at £50 but was in fact obtained for the princely sum of £25. The brass on the lamp was refurbished in 1989 by Charles Beggin, Roscommon.



The tabernacle in silver-plated bronze was made and decorated in 1989 by a Kilkenny silversmith, Peter Donovan. The symbols on the door depict the Lamb of God, sheaves of wheat and bunches of grapes representing bread and wine. Figures of the Twelve Apostles appear on the sides of the tabernacle, six on each side.


The Reredos

The reredos behind the tabernacle was completed in 1904 and is made of Caen stone and Irish marble. The figures and scenes depicted above the string course in the upper part of the reredos are, from left to right:

• St. Eugene - Patron Saint of the Diocese
• Group of Adoring Angels
• The Nativity
• Group of Adoring Angels
• Group of Adoring Angels
• The Presentation in the Temple
• Group of Adoring Angels
• Saint Columba in monastic habit with a crown at his feet.

The scenes depicted in the lower part of the reredos are, from left to right:
• The Cottage of Nazareth
• The finding of Our Blessed Lord in the Temple in the midst of the Doctors
• The Healing of the Paralytic
• The Raising of Lazarus.


Bishop Kelly Memorial Window

When the Cathedral was opened in 1873 all the windows were of plain glass. In 1891, the glass in the Bishop Kelly Memorial Window above the reredos and the two windows over the side altars was replaced with stained glass. The Memorial Window is divided into seven lights of stained glass which illustrate significant scenes from Christ’s life:
• The Nativity
• The Baptism of Christ
• The Agony in the Garden
• The Crucifixion
• Taking down from the Cross
• The Resurrection - Empty Tomb
• The Ascension

Below these are prominent Saints of the Irish Church - from left to right:
St. Patrick, St. Brigid, St. Canice, St. Eugene, St. Columba, St. Dympna, St. Mura.


Bishop’s Chair

On the right hand side of the main alter (close to the position occupied in 1873) is the Bishop’s chair. The cross and the episcopal symbols of a mitre and a crosier are emblazoned in gold on the leather covering on the back of the chair. It was carved in oak by Meyer, Munich and installed in 1898.

The chair is significant because a Cathedral, as the principal church of a diocese, gets its name from the Bishop’s chair - The Cathedra.

Our Lady’s Altar
This small altar terminates the south aisle and has been retained in the Cathedral as a shrine to Our Lady. The statue of Our Lady was purchased from Meyer, Munich in 1898 and cost £30. It stands on a pedestal of five clustered columns with carved capitals. At the back of the statue is an arch of angels, the two upper angels holding a celestial crown over the head of the Blessed Virgin.

At each end of the reredos, made of Caen stone, is a canopied niche, richly carved and supported by Irish marble columns. The niche on the left contains a figure of St. Joachim (the father of Our Lady) holding in his right hand a staff and in his left, a basket containing two turtle doves. In the right hand niche is a figure of St. Anne (Our Lady’s mother) holding a book which is turned towards the onlooker. The book is inscribed in Latin: ‘ecce virgo concipiet et pariet filium’ (‘behold a virgin will conceive and bear a son’) Is. 7:14.

Underneath the altar is the crypt, the final resting place of Bishops Kelly, McHugh and O’Kane.

The window at the back of the altar depicts the Visit of the Magi. On the wall to the side of the altar is a bust of Bishop Francis Kelly. The windows inside the chancel depict St. Joseph on his death bed with Mary caring for him while Jesus blesses his foster father, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga being blessed by Pope Pius V in the presence of Cardinal Bellarmine.


South Aisle
Directly in front of Our Lady’s Altar at the top of the South Aisle there is accommodation for the choir. The windows above the choir depict St. Joseph, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Anthony of Padua, and the Transfiguration.

As you continue down the South Aisle, the themes of the stained glass windows are as follows:
• The Presentation in the Temple
• Christ among the Doctors
• The Holy Family
• Sistine Madonna

The stained glass window at the back of the church, facing the south aisle, depicts St. Patrick baptising King Eoghan at Aileach.

Top Left Image : The tabernacle in silver-plated bronze
Top Right Image : Our Lady's Altar