St Anne’s Church in Shandon was built in 1722 near the site of the St Mary’s of the Mountain Church that was destroyed, along with Shandon Castle, during the Siege of Cork in 1690. The replacement St Marys Church was built on another site in lower Shandon Street in 1693. St Anne’s was designed in the Old English architectural style. The belfry was added in 1749 to accommodate a set of bells, which visitors today play tunes on today. The belfry has walls seven feet thick and it reaches a height of 170 feet at the top of the spire, which is topped with a gold-plated salmon weathervane, eleven feet and three inches in length, symbolizing the former salmon industry of the River Lee. The salmon was re regilded in 2004. The weathervane is known to local people as the ‘goldie fish’. The north and east facades of Shandon belfry are built of red sandstone, said to be from the ruins of Shandon Castle. The west and south facades of the steeple are built of limestone, believed to be from the ruins of the Franciscan Friary on North Mall, also destroyed during the siege of Cork. Two artefacts on display in St Anne's Church survive from the destroyed St Mary’s church. One is a baptismal font (pictured right) dating from 1629, with the inscription: “Walter Elinton and William Ring made this pant [Anglo-Saxon word for font] at their charges”. The font includes a pewter bowl dating to 1773. The second surviving relic from the former church is the Piercy Memorial on the wall of the vestry (pictured left). In the former church this memorial marked the burial place of George Piercy, who died in 1635.
The bells of St Anne’s were cast in 1750 by Abel Rudhall of Gloucester. The eight bells weighing a total of six tons were added in 1752; each with an inscription, and were first rang on 7 December 1752. Some of the bells have been recast over the years but they still bear their original inscriptions. The bells were immortalised by writer Francis Sylvester Mahony, also also known by his pen-name of ‘Father Prout (pictured right)’, who penned the well known verses, ‘The Bells of Shandon’. Reverend Mahony is buried in the graveyard of St Anne’s. The belfry of St Anne’s has four clocks, one on each side, each of them 14 feet in diameter. The clocks were erected for the citizens of Cork by Cork Corporation in 1847 and were supplied by Mangan’s of Cork. The clocks continue to be maintained by Cork City Council. One of the clocks is inscribed with the following epigraph: 'Passenger measure your time, for time is the measure of being'. The clocks are collectively known to locals as the ‘four-faced liar’ as each side of the clock can give a slightly different time due to high winds affecting the movement of the clocks hands. The City Council commissioined a horologist to repair the 160-year-old clock mechanisms in summer 2014, and the clocks began functioning again on 2 September 2014 after they had stopped indicating the time for two years before that date. The map detail on left shows St Anne's Church as represented on Guy's 1893 Directory of Cork. St Anne’s Church was renovated in 2004.
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Link to another page on St Anne's Church on this website.
The people's North Parish pilgrimage: a souvenir publication. Typing Times Publishing House, Cork, 2000, p. 10.
Tad[h]g. Lehane, My city through the ages. Cork Teachers' Centre, 1985, pp. 36-7.
J.W.T. Tuckey, Two hundred years of Shandon bells. Church of St Ann, Cork, 1952, pp. 1-6.
Eoin English, "Shandon clock ticks again after expert spends time with 'liar' ", Irish Examiner, 3 September 2014, p. 7.