St. Flannan’s Cathedral, Killaloe

Organ in St Flannan’s Cathedral, Killaloe, Co Clare

The first mention of an organ in the cathedral was in 1782 but it was removed in 1826. The present organ by Nicholson and Lord of Worcester was installed in 1900. In order to cover the cost, a ‘Fancy Fair’ was held in the then Bishop’s Palace in Clarisford and £300 was raised. However it was insufficient and the balance of a further £100 was raised at a ‘Grand Concert’ in the Bechstein Hall in London and an advertisement for this is hung beside the organ pipes. Patrons included the Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary for Ireland at the time and also Sir Charles Villiers Stanford among others.

In 1966 there was a partial rebuild and the action was electrified with a new console and improvement in the tonal specifications. By 2002 however it was in a dire state and Stephen Adams carried out a major refurbishment including rewiring the console and action mechanism and replacing relays and switching systems with cleaning and re-voicing of the pipework, replacing stop action motors, re-leathering of the bellows and some limited tonal improvements. The organ now has a pleasing tone and is rewarding to play in the good acoustics of the Cathedral


Great Organ:  Open diapason 8, Clarabella 8, Dulciana 8, Principal 4, Harmonic flute 4, Twelfth 2 2/3, Fifteenth 2, Tierce 1 3/5, Tertian 2 RKS, Mixture 3-4 RKS, Double Trumpet 16, Trumpet 8,

Swell Organ: Bourdon 16, Open Diapason 8, Lieblich Gedacht 8, Viol d’Amour 8, Voix Celeste (T.C.) 8, Principal 4, Fifteenth 2, Mixture 2-3 RKS, Oboe 8, Tremulant

Pedal Organ: Open diapason (Wood) 16, Bourdon 16, Octave (Wood) 8, Bass flute 8, Trombone 16, Trumpet 8

Couplers: Swell to Great, Swell to Pedal, Great to Pedal, Swell Octave, Swell sub-Octave, Swell Octave to Great, Swell:  Unison off

Accessories: 4 Thumb Pistons to Swell; 4 Thumb Pistons to Great; 3 Toe pistons, Balanced Swell Pedal.                                                                                                                                                                         3 Coupler Pistons: Swell to Great, Swell to Pedal; Great to Pedal.                                                         Piston setter; General Cancel, Transposer, Enlarged Electric Blower, Memory

The Tierce, Tertian and Mixture on the Great are additional stops and aremade up of new pipes. The Trumpet is the former Swell Cornopean and this has been extended down to 16’ pitch by the Double Trumpet. Both stops have been duplicated on the Pedal as the Trombone and Trumpet.

On the Swell, the Fifteenth is new and the Oboe takes the place of the former Cornopean, now the Great Trumpet. The fifteenth and Oboe are made up of second-hand pipes. The twelve bottom notes of the Trombone on the Pedal and the Double Trumpet on the Great are electronic. Additional couplers are Swell Sub-Octave, Swell Sub-Octave to Great and Swell-Unison Off. Most of the accessories are additions.


Information provided by Diana Whitehead (March, 2016)