Funding has been released for vital emergency conservation works that will help keep the doors of a landmark cathedral open.
The Government sanctioned a special €212,000 grant for St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork as part of a €717,000 package to support the conservation and protection of important heritage buildings across Ireland.
Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan said the special allocation for the iconic cathedral recognised its international architectural and heritage importance.
Dean Nigel Dunne said he was delighted.
"This is absolutely brilliant to get that sort of grant in the current economic climate. It will help us keep the doors open," he said.
"We were getting to the stage where we were considering closing off certain areas for health and safety reasons."
The emergency works, which are expected to start immediately, will include:
* Urgent repairs to secure two gargoyles at risk of falling from the building;
* Internal conservation measures to the north and south transepts, and external conservation measures to the western front, the main entrance to the cathedral;
* Work on the Dean’s Chapel;
* Repairs to internal stone work and plastering over the organ pit, where €1.2m is being spent installing a new instrument.
The works to the north transept will allow essential repairs to be carried out on the internal stonework and plaster to eliminate the risk to the new organ of dust and falling debris. Up to 35kg of dust was removed from the old organ pit.
The cathedral still has to find matching fundraising and is planning a series of events this year.
Another €500,000 is being allocated to assist with works to safeguard at-risk structures in 41 projects across 27 local authorities.
Other Cork structures to benefit from the fund include Shandon Tower and Alms House in Glanmire.