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John White of York Street, Dublin 

The organ was originally built by John White of York Street, Dublin in the late 1840s and enlarged in 1876. He was a pupil of the renowned French organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, whose work was a catalyst for the emergence of the 19th century French symphonic school of organ composition. White’s organ of 1876 was a three manual, mechanical action instrument with 28 stops.

 

Henry Willis and Sons Ltd

The_OrganIn 1932 Henry Willis III rebuilt and enlarged the organ, retaining the original case and most of the pipework. Electro-pneumatic action was introduced, wind pressures raised, and the console moved to its present location to the front of the gallery. Henry Willis IV made a few tonal changes and additions in 1974. The organ at this point in time had 42 speaking stops.

 

J. W. Walker and Sons Ltd

By 2004 the condition of the organ had seriously deteriorated. Leather coverings had rotted resulting in air leaks, timber surfaces had distorted and split, whole ranks of pipes were failing and the early electrical systems were no longer reliable.

 

Sebastian Meakin, Director ofJ. W. Walker and Sons Ltd, was keen to build on two layers of valuable work, namely the surviving elements of White’s organ and the earlier Willis material. The neo-baroque alterations of 1974 were reversed. New soundboards, actions, keyboards and modern operating systems were installed, and the console was restored and polished. A fresh new tonal scheme, which required the removal of a number of unconvincing older stops and the introduction of 16 new stops, re-established a musical unity in the instrument and the dynamic range in the foundation work was broadened to enhance the organ’s liturgical role. The organ now has 45 speaking stops and contains 2,581 pipes.

 

The case was restored and the display pipes painted by John and Paddy Micheau. Multiple layers of varnish and paint were stripped away by hand and the many pine panels meticulously polished. The four cornices were replaced back to their rightful positions on top of the case to restore its symmetry. The two inner cornices are original and the outer ones were constructed from antique pine by the Micheaus.

 

With Walker’s vision and expertise the organ has been transformed into a very fine liturgical and recital instrument with the following specification:

 

 

Great

Swell

Choir

Pedal

Double Diapason 16 Open Diapason 8
Flute 8
Resultant Bass 32
Open Diapason No.1 Chimney Flute 8
Gamba 8
Open Bass 16
Open Diapason No.2 Viola 8 
Flute 4 Violone 16
Stopped Diapason 8 
Voix Celestes 8  
Nazard 2 2/3 Bourdon 16
Octave 4
Principal 4
Piccolo 2
Lieblich Bordun 16
Principal 4
Clear Flute 4
Tierce 1 3/5 Octave 8
Open Flute 4 
Fifteenth 2 Larigot 1 1/3 Flute 8
Twelfth 2 2/3
Mixture III Clarinet 8 Super Octave 4
Fifteenth 2
Waldhorn 16 Trompeta (8) Mixture III
Sesquialtera III
Cornopean 8 Tremolo Bombard 32
Sharp mixture
Oboe 8   Bassoon 16
Trumpet 8
Clarion 4   Trombone 16
Trompeta (8) Tremolo