Dedicated to St. Luke, the first church on the site was consecrated on 21 October 1837. The early nineteenth century saw considerable population growth in the Summerhill North area as wealthy merchants and others moved out of the overcrowded city centre, and the new church catered for this growing population many of whom were (Anglican) Church of Ireland.
Designed by the noted architect George Richard Pain, it was a cruciform building with a tower and spire. By the 1850s it was too small to cater for the needs of the parishioners and in 1872 when St. Luke’s became a parish in its own right, plans were soon drawn up for a much larger building.
The architects for the new church were John Benson and William Henry Hill, both well known and respected in the Cork area. The building cost £6,000 and was constructed in Romanesque style. It was completed in 1878 and reopened in September of that year. Just nine years later it was destroyed by fire.
Plans were immediately drawn up for rebuilding the church. Of the original architects, John Benson had died in 1874, so William Henry Hill designed the new structure. It was again in Romanesque style and, remarkably, took just two years to build. It was consecrated on 7 February 1889. The church is very large and in 1897 was described as seating 800 people. Various improvements were made to the building over the years, including the addition of stained glass windows by A.E. Child and H.W. Lonsdale.
St. Luke’s remained an active parish until the early twenty-first century when declining numbers led to its closure and de-consecration in 2003. It is now owned by Cork City Council.
Content courtesy of Dr. Alicia St. Leger