The Magahy Pipe Organ


The Magahy Pipe Organ

Commissioned in 1902, with over 2000 pipes, it was built by  Megahy’s of Cork with £1000 donated by the Carnegie Trust. The first recital was given in 1907.It was restored in time for its centenary celebration in 2007.

The Organ in the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church of the Holy Cross was built by Thomas Walter Magahy of 23 Lower George’s Street in Cork City in 1902. A generous donation was provided for this by The Carnegie Trust. Andrew Carnegie was a patron of artistic, educational and cultural endeavours including the funding of almost 4,000 public libraries but rather less well known, was his patronage of the pipe organ. He helped fund the purchase of over 7,500 pipe organs, almost half of them in America.

The company T.W.Magahy & Son was founded in Cork in 1875 and it was responsible for building organs for the Cathedrals, Cloyne, St. Finbar’s and Roscarbery as well as a number of churches both Catholic and Protestant. The company also built organs for the Cork Exhibitions of 1883 and 1902 and the excellence of Magahy’s work was widely recognised.

The organ comprises of over two thousand pipes and is one of the largest and most powerful in County Kerry and the only pipe organ in the Iveragh Peninsula. Some of its pipes measure 3 metres in height. Also, it has three manuals (keyboards). The most outstanding aspect of our organ is its unique accoustic relationship with the church’s interior. The large granit and concrete vaulted ceiling, the first in Ireland after the Reformation creates an excellent marriage of sound in which the softer style colours of the organ effortlessly flood the cathedral like style interior. the full organ sounds majestic without being overwhelming.

When it is played, its tones can be clearly heard on the street, drawing people into the church to hear its unique sound.

The organ’s manuel was converted to electric-pneumatic in 1953 and its pedal board in 1972.

The drape stop action is electro-pneumatic throughout.

Recently the organ was restored for use by Stephen Adams of Tullow, Co. Carlow. Stephen is a recognised expert in this field having worked both at home and abroad restoring, upgrading and tuning pipe organs. Unfortunately, our church organ is not in use at this time due to the extensive restoration work being carried out in the church.

The following link will open an extract from an organ recital in the O’Connell Memorial Church: