19th April 2023

Down Cathedral organ case, seen from the console

Just back from three stimulating days in Northern Ireland, visiting a project in progress and revisiting two other projects which we hope will come to life. It was a delight to revisit the H&H / Wells Kennedy organ in the beautiful cathedral at Downpatrick. Long thought to have been a late organ by Samuel Green, it is now known to have been built a decade or so after his death.

Holywood being dismantled

In progress is a Henry Groves / Wells Kennedy rebuild of the fine 3-manual, 57-stop 1963 Walker in St Philip & St James, Holywood (Belfast); the organ’s innards are now almost entirely removed, most of them being shipped to the Henry Groves works near Nottingham, while the console has gone to Renatus in Bideford for a complete refurbishment.

Ulster Hall organ – note the visible Mander additions

The largest organ I’m involved with in the area is the famous 4-manual 72-stop Hill / Mander organ in the Ulster Hall, which is showing its age in every respect; writing a major report on that will be a few days’ work, even though it is an update of my 2009 report.

Ulster Hall Choir and Great soundboards and pipes

This fine view from the very back of the organ is possible only because Mander removed the Choir expression box shutters in 1976: just one of the issues up for discussion.