Restoration of the great organ of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth

08 Dec 2013

The great organ of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, has been completely restored.  The firm of Fratelli Ruffatti of Padua, Italy, was selected to do the work which took two years. The organ was dismantled in September 2011 and transported to Italy.  The rebuilt instrument returned in September 2013 and after extensive ‘voicing’ and ‘fine tuning’ is now fully ready for service.

Today at a special Sunday Evening Vespers in Maynooth, at which the new instrument was blessed and dedicated, the President of Saint Patrick’s College, Monsignor Hugh Connolly said to the over 200 people in attendance,”Above all this organ will be a servant of the liturgy, the Eucharist that gives our campus community the weekly rhythm for our lives here upon our pilgrim path. Its music will help us to bring the whole spectrum of human experience to our daily prayer. Its pure notes and perfect pitch will soar heavenward as students, staff and passersby pause to reflect here on their daily lives bringing their prayers of loss and fulfilment, doubt and trust, confusion and conviction, happiness and grief, gratitude and praise to God.”

The original organ of the College Chapel was built by the Stahlhuth firm of Aix-la-Chapelle, Belgium around 1890.  After 120 years of great service, it needed a total rebuild, as many of the 3,000 pipes were no longer playable. The organ has had two major rebuilds in its life, in the 1920’s and again in the 1970’s. In addition, it has been regularly maintained, with several modifications.

The organ’s magnificent music features at all the great liturgical events during the college year including the Easter ceremonies, ordination to the diaconate, opening of the academic year mass, Pontifical graduation ceremonies and annual carol services and choral concerts.  The organ is also used by some of the seminarians and students of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and their colleagues in National University of Ireland, Maynooth, who are pursuing studies in music.

The considerable restoration costs were, for the most part, independently fund-raised by Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. The project was capably supervised by Professor Emeritus Gerard Gillen and Dr John O’Keefe, Director of Sacred Music.

The President Monsignor Connolly also thanked the extraordinary generosity of those whose donations helped make this extraordinary dream become a reality.


For media contact the Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth 00 353 (0) 86 1727678