Loughrea is the cathedral
town of Ireland's smallest diocese, Clonfert, and St.
Brendan's Cathedral is a place of interest for students of
the art of stained glass, having windows by Evie Hone and
The building was designed by William Byrne in 1897, and
completed five years later.
St. Brendan's Catholic Cathedral in Loughrea
is arguably one of the country's greatest contributions to
European art of the twentieth century. It is an absolute
must for anyone interested in modern Irish stained glass.
Its only unusual architectural features are its
double transepts. But it is the decoration of the church interior that makes a
visit such an enriching and spiritual experience.
The foundation stone of the cathedral was laid
on October 10, 1897. Although small in size the cathedral is large in its
interior magnificence. It has been described as the jewel in the crown of the
Celtic Revival. Loughrea gets its name from the Irish Baile Locha Riach, the
town of the Grey Lake. The cathedral lies on the northern shore of this
St. Brendan's cathedral has been described as a Treasure House of Celtic Revival
art. The International Arts & Crafts Movement of the late 19th century sought to
reunite the artist and the craftsman. It was born out of a reaction to the mass
production of the industrial era and found fertile ground in Ireland during the
Celtic Revival period (c. 1880 - 1930).
St. Brendan's Cathedral is unique in that it was the first building in Ireland
to be comprehensively decorated by the budding Irish Arts & Crafts Movement of
Visitors and locals alike can now enjoy a 30 minute audio tour of the Cathedral.
The tour, available in English, French, German, Italian and Dutch introduces the
visitor to Irish church art of international renown, with pride of place going
to the unrivalled collection of Irish stained glass.