The patron saint of Cork, St. Fin Barre, gives his name to this cathedral.According to tradition, he lived at an island hermitage at Gougane Barra at the source of the Rivier Lee before founding the monastery in Cork. Regarded as the first Bishop of Cork, his name 'Fionnbarr' means 'fair headed'
The new cathedral was consecrated in 1870, although work continued for many years. The enthusiastic Bishop John Gregg inspired hundreds of donations. Amongst the largest were those from William Crawford of Beamish and Crawford brewery and Francis Wise of the North Mall distillery.
St. Fin Barre's Cathedral is the 'mother church' of the church of Ireland United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross. The dioceses cover an area roughly equal to the county of Cork and there are also cathedrals at Cloyne and Rosscarbery. Diocesan services held in St. in Barre's Cathedral include ordinations and other special ceremonies when wosshippers are drawn from asross the sioceses and rurther afield.