A photograph of the much-loved Broad Lane Franciscan Church built in 1831. The church actually stood on Liberty Street, despite its name. This was because the Franciscans had a chapel in Broad Lane itself since at least 1759. John Rocque's map of that year shows the Broad Lane Chapel on the south-western side of the lane. The friars built a church in Little Cross Street in 1771. In 1831 they moved to the church in Liberty Street.
The foundation stone of the new Broad Lane church was laid on 14 July 1829. The architect was Cottrell of Hanover Street. Bishop John Murphy dedicated the church on 2 January 1831. The cost of building the church was £4,500.
The church was improved and refurnished during the second half of the nineteenth century. A bell tower was built in 1858. The condition of the church deteriorated during the 1880s and 1890s. Due to lack of funds, the Franciscans could afford only temporary repairs. In 1937, a committee of friars and their friends and supporters decided to build a new church to replace the Broad Lane Church. The new church, the present-day St. Francis Church, opened for worship on 14 July 1953.
The original Broad Lane was off North Main Street, near its south-western end. Parts of the present-day St. Francis Church and its car park stand on part of the old lane. The lane was demolished in the 1940s and 1950s. Visitors to Cork were often amused to find that Broad Lane was only ten feet wide. This was still wider than many of the lanes of eighteenth century Cork. Some historians think the lane was called after a family named Broad.
Broad Lane / An Lána Leathan
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