Not to be Missed!
Given central place on the reredos behind the altar is the Tetragrammaton the letters YHWH, the holy and unutterable name of God in the Hebrew Bible. This roots the faith of Christians in the biblical tradition of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The Elliot Organ
The fire which broke out in the Organ Gallery in 1815 destroyed much of the cathedral’s interior along with the organ itself, requiring the commissioning of a new organ in 1817. In 1891 this organ was taken down from its gallery and fitted with a new case before being moved to the left-hand corner of the cathedral, which compromised its appearance and sound quality. In 2003 a gallery was constructed to house the organ in its original position, as well as a new casing of solid mahogany. The pipes of the organ are gold-plated and, having gone unplayed for 30 years prior to its restoration, the organ is now in regular use for services and concerts.
This is one of the most important organs outside Dublin.
The James Rice Tomb and the Camino
James Rice was Mayor of Waterford eleven times during the 15th Century. His many terms saw the city blossom and in 1481 he built a chapel to house his tomb in the original Norman cathedral. Since the construction of the current cathedral his tomb, which he shares with his wife Katherine Broun, has been moved on two occasions and has occupied its present position since 1880. It is a fine example of a cadaver monument, depicting the horror of death and the glory of saints. Weather damage has taken its toll down the centuries and made the Latin inscription quite difficult to read. Rice wished that his tomb be a reminder of the briefness of our earthly lives and the transient nature of fame, wealth and power. The tomb displays a badly decayed corpse, crawling with worms and with a frog feasting on the stomach. A section of the inscription reads, ‘I am what you will be; I was what you are now.’ The figures of saints can be seen on the sides of the tomb.
Rice walked the Camino pilgrimage twice during his lifetime and his tomb became a starting point for Waterford pilgrims as they embarked upon their journey to Santiago di Compostela. The Scallop shell motif of the Camino was added in the 19th century over the reredos and to the lectern.
Behind the altar lie three panels of stucco work. It has recently been suggested that the side panels predate the central and may date back to the 17th century.
The Consistorial Court
One of very few remaining consistorial courtrooms of 18th Century origin in the country. Here the Bishop, or his representative, wielded tremendous socio-political power. Alongside routine matters such as wills and marriage licences, the court also investigated offences which were against canon law. These included sacrilege, blasphemy and adultery but nowadays the room is filled with more pleasant sounds in its function as the choir room.
Fifteenth Century Vestments
An extraordinary and unique set of Pre Reformation medieval vestments were recovered in the ruins of the original Christ Church Cathedral before the building of the present John Robert’s building. These were handed over by the Church of Ireland Bishop, the Rt. Revd. Chevenix to the Roman Catholic bishop, the Most Rev. Thomas Hussey between 1797 and 1803.
The robes have been magnificently restored are on display in the Medieval Museum