Welcome to Trinity

Presbyterian Church, Cork


Our congregation is called after the Trinity.  This is a key Christian concept, the idea being that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are each fully God, each a separate person but also that there is only One God.  Why this particular doctrine is also our congregations name is because of some events from over 200 years ago. At the start of the 1800's two things happened happened in Cork. Firstly there was an influx of Scottish immigrants who were Presbyterians. Secondly when they came they found that the only Presbyterian church in the city was run by people who denied the doctrine of the Trinity.  

By the early 1830's some of these new immigrants, together with some of people in the Presbyterian church in Cork who didn't like what they were being thought, had the idea to start their own congregation. On the first of December 1831, three ministers came from Dublin and met to worship with these folk in what is now the Freemasons building on Tuckey St. Later they met in what is now the YMCA on Marlboro St, eventually the work grew and they raised enough money to build a church and one was erected in 1840 in Queen St. (Now Fr. Matthew St.) 

This congregation also grew in number and by the late 1850's it was evident they would need a bigger building.  From these plans our current meeting house on Summerhill North was eventually opened in 1861.

For reasons we are not sure off , possibly due to continued growth possibly due to friction in the congregation the previous building in Queen St  was re-opened the following year and continued as a separate congregation in its own right until the 1920's. 

Our church building is somewhat more elaborate in design than many Presbyterian buildings, its main features are its lack of pillars ensuring complete visibility of the pulpit and the three stained glass windows in honour of the God the Trinity.  It was designed by the English architect, Colin Tarring, who was responsible for many non conformist church buildings in England including Westminster Chapel, Buckingham Gate, London.

There was a proposal to put a bell in the steeple but the matter was deferred because of the cost of £9. The current tower is accessible up a stairs taking you about 20 feet up, there is then a nice view of an empty tower!

In Cork we are known as the church with the crooked steeple.  Why is it so? One suggestion is that the builders considered they were not paid enough and so built it this way deliberately and it was not discovered until after all the scaffolding was removed, however the reports we have about the church suggest nothing but thanks for the workers and indeed pictures of the church some 40 years after it suggest there was no lean in the steeple at that stage.  Recently whilst tendering for some work on the building, one of the contractors suggested that in their experience the most likely option is that the steeple was struck by lightening. 

In 1863 the Carmichael School for boys was opened at the bottom of Summerhill North. It was later merged with a girls’ school and Lecture Hall (1874) as the Summerhill National School which closed in 1968.

In 1904 the organ was installed by the Cork organ builders Magahy.  This is an unusual design, being split on either side of the stained glass window at the rear of the church.

Julie Feeney, (composer and singer of ‘pages’ and ‘13 songs’) played the organ here in the 1990s while at UCC and has said. “In my teen years it was truly a very special experience to play the organ every Sunday at Trinity Presbyterian.  I loved it there. ”

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