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St Patrick's Church, Monkstown, Dublin

RegionCo. Dublin - Dublin city
Uploaded byRay O'Donnell
Derek Verso (refurbished and restored)

The builder of this organ is unknown, but Derek Verso surmises that it might have been John White, or possibly John White bought it from a French builder (Cavaillé-Coll?). The action is mechanical throughout; the manuals each have 56 notes and the pedal 30.

The author (ROD) is unclear whether the specification below represents the organ before or after Derek Verso's work, but suspects that this is the original stoplist.

Unusual features of this instrument include (from Derek Verso's notes for BIOS conference held in Maynooth, July 1991):

  • Keyboards made by J. Corbeil, Paris
  • Many labels on metal stops hand-written in French
  • Solid mahogony soundboards throughout
  • Most metal pipes have very thin, soft tuning ears
  • Large wooden pipes have moveable languids
  • Shortened length of manual keys
  • Unusual wind system - 3 communicating wind trunks from bellows to swell and directly through to great
  • Position of Great and Swell stops is reversed from usual; Great on the right jamb, Swell on the left
  • Sprung hitch couplers
  • Straight and parallel pedal-board with short keys of Continental school
  • Hardwood faceboards held in place using Continental practice of cleats and many small faceboards, rather our usual system of one large faceboard screwed on
  • 12 "helper" pipes at 4' pitch with bottom octave of Gamba
  • Open parallel shallots in treble of Cornopean, dolcan form of pipes for flue trebles, French style long boot and separate resonators throughout
Open Diapason8
Rohr Flute8
Twelfth2 2/3
Flute Traversiere8
Voix Celeste8
Flute Harmonique4
Sub Bass16
Open Flute8
Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal


Rónán Murray's picture

Builder of this organ

Apparently, this organ was built by Charles Spackman Barker (of Barker lever fame) in around 1870. He settled in Ireland for the last years of his life and built a 3 manual organ in the Pro-Cathedral in around 1871. This instrument had electric action and caused such trouble that the American organ builder, Roosevelt, was asked to examine it on his way home from business in Europe. It was ultimately replaced by a 4 manual Hill instrument in 1900. Barker also collaborated with Bryceson and Morten on their large organ for the church of Ss. Peter and Paul, Cork. The Cork instrument has a near identical stop list to that of the former Barker organ in the Pro-Cathedral, including enclosed reeds at 16, 8, and 4 pitches on the Great division. However, the Monkstown organ is a unique treasure, as it must be the sole surviving Barker organ with entirely mechanical action left anywhere.

Monkstown's stop list remains original, although the Great upperwork and Swell reed may have been altered somewhat, tonally. The swell pedal remains a lever, but the shutter mechanism is now balanced.