Galway Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas. Perhaps with the hint of a nod to Brunelleschi’s Duomo in Florence, the large octagonal dome of Galway’s Catholic Cathedral rises above the roofs of the medieval city. Providing a full side view to those crossing a bridge over the Corrib, it was the last major stone church to be built in Ireland, at a time (1957-65) when concrete was already well established as the main medium of construction. The brainchild of Bishop Michael Browne, it was intended to be a church which would be, in his own words, ‘solid, dignified and worthy of Galway’ and hopefully of the Good Lord as well. Dedicated to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas, it was designed by J.J. Robinson, over whose shoulder the bishop doubtless looked at every single detail. Its style has been described as Renaissance – and some details, such as the slightly incongruous towers at the western end, as well as the sacristy door, could perhaps fit that description. But eclectic would be a better word. The nave arcade arches and even possibly the unplastered stone interior have some Romanesque affinities, the unusuallyshaped arches going from the side-aisles through to the retro-choir have an almost Spanish look about them, the coffered ceiling of Pacific American wood is italianate in feeling, and the springing of the tower Byzantine, while the rose windows are a reflection of Gothic practice. For all its stonework, the Cathedral has a warm feeling inside, uninterrupted by intrusive lamps from the ceiling. But what really makes the Cathedral into an impressive whole is the variety of art that has gone into its making.

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