Michael Cooney: Sacred Heart Church

Wednesday, 30 March 2016: Michael Cooney: Sacred Heart Church

[L - R] Club Secretary, Gerry McGonigle with Club Member, Michael Cooney
[L – R] Club Secretary, Gerry McGonigle with Club Member, Michael Cooney

Michael chose just 100 of his 1000+ photos of the church to illustrate his talk. Starting outside Michael showed a photo of two plaques on the smaller, St Patrick’s spire recording the placing of the corner stone and the dedication on completion of the church in 1899. The church was not consecrated until 1954 when the outstanding head rent was paid off. The church was designed by William Hague of Dublin (a protégé of Pugin) and cost some £46,000. A local benefactor, Edward Boyle, contributed £10,000 and other contributions came from Tyrone emigrés in the USA, Canada and GB. Photographs of the façade showed the detail in the stonework, images inspired by nature and the Gospel story. Carvings of oak leaves and shamrocks sit beside sculptures of the Saints and the Holy Family. Inside the beauty continues in the decorated capitals atop each of the columns, in the pulpit and altar rails, in the extensive wood carvings. The walls soar upwards to the beautiful wooden ceiling, honey-coloured when the sun streams through the stained glass windows. The magnificent East Window is particularly noteworthy. For visitors to Omagh the Sacred Heart Church stands today as a testament to both faith and beauty and is one of the treasures of our town.