Honan Chapel re-opens after 1.2m refurbishment

The iconic and much-loved Honan Chapel at University College Cork today unveils the result of its €1.2m refurbishment works at a special Mass to mark a new chapter in its 106-year-old story.

Bishop Fintan Gavin will be the principal celebrant of the Mass. Among those attending will be UCC President Professor John O’Halloran and members of the Honan Chapel Development Committee, chaired by Michael O’Flynn.

Inside the Honan Chapel, UCC are Fr Ger Dunne OP, Dean of Honan Chapel (left) and Micheal O’Flynn, Chair of the Honan Development Committee. Pic:Brian Lougheed

Consecrated in 1916, a turbulent year in Irish history, the Honan Chapel is considered a jewel in the crown of twentieth century Irish art and architecture, with its collection including fine examples of the artworks of the Irish Revival, and Irish Arts and Crafts practice.

The building and furnishing of the Chapel was funded by Cork merchants the Honan Family who also funded the building of a hostel for Catholic students at the college.

On the steps of the Honan Chapel, UCC, are (from left): Professor John O’Halloran, President UCC and Chair of the Honan Trust; Ms Nora Geary, Corporate Secretary UCC and Trustee of the Honan Chapel; Fr Ger Dunne , Dean of Honan Chapel and Micheal O’Flynn, Chair of the Honan Development Committee. (Pic: Brian Lougheed)

Every aspect of the Honan Chapel has been lovingly restored for future generations. The renowned eleven Harry Clarke windows – acknowledged as the finest example of stained glass work in Ireland – have been painstakingly restored and storm-proofed. The beautiful mosaic floor with its intricate River of Life iconographic program has been repaired and sealed by dedicated craftsmanship.

The interior of the Chapel has been repainted, and all the pews have been restored. The exterior surrounds of the limestone Chapel has been entirely repaired, repointed and sealed, with drainage works, landscaping and the restoration of original items including the decorative metal gate to its main entrance, while the external lighting has been replaced with an upgraded system.

The elaborate mosaic on the floor of the Honan Chapel UCC was cleaned and restored.

The money to pay for the recent works was sourced from private donors, with the project overseen by a Development Committee chaired by Michael O’Flynn.

 Mr O’Flynn said the response to the call for support for the Chapel has been phenomenal.

“It is testament to the regard and affection in which the Honan Chapel is held. On behalf of the development committee I wish to give our sincere thanks to the generous donors, as well as the architects, conservation experts, contractors and staff who made this happen.”

The Chapel hosts approximately 100 weddings in a typical year with thousands of UCC alumni and others celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage in the Chapel over the years, – rugby star Ronan O’Gara is among those to have exchanged vows at its altar.