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St. Mary's Cathedral was designed by the renowned English Architect Augustus Welby Pugin who is said to have gained inspiration from the ruins of Ardfert Cathedral "which is particularly evident in the slender triple lancets in the east and west walls."
Construction was not continuous. The Great Famine and the lack of available funds meant the work was stopped several times and when recommenced in 1853 the interior decorations were designed by James Joseph McCarthy. In 1855 the building was ready for regular worship. Separately the spire and nave were completed in 1907 by the Irish Architects Ashlin and Coleman of Dublin who had designed Cobh Cathedral.
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