The original organ of the College Chapel was built by the Stahlhuth firm of Aix-la-Chapelle around 1890. After 120 years of great service, it is needing a total rebuild, as many of the 3,000 pipes are no longer playable.
Each stop (see photograph) has a distinct sound, and so 61 pipes in a rank are called into service when a stop is pulled out. When any one of these pipes is damaged or out of tune, the whole group becomes redundant.
The organ has had two major rebuilds in its life, in the 1920's and in the 1970's. In addition, it has been regularly maintained, with several modifications. However, by now, a total rebuild is required, and companies in Ireland, England, Hungary and Italy have competed for the job. The firm of Fratelli Ruffatti of Padua in Italy has been selected to do the work, which will take two years.
In recent months, all the pipes have been removed from the Organ-Case. Some of the ranks will be totally replaced while others have been shipped to Italy to be voiced and polished. We hope that the restored and newly commissioned pipes will be returned to their setting in the summer of 2013.
In the meantime, a temporary electronic system has been employed, with speakers concealed in the Organ-Case. We hope that the music from the rebuilt instrument will fill the College Chapel at the Carol Service of 2013 and for many of the College liturgies in the future. The rebuilding of the Organ is the last major component in the restoration of the College Chapel.
We have been able to get the project started because one major donor has come forward. However we need help to complete the project which will also include the renovation of the Gallery and the restoration of the Western wall.
The budget for the organ is €750,000.00. This values each of the 3,000 pipes at an average of €250. Each time a stop is pulled out, a rank is engaged which consists of 61 notes. Each rank will therefore cost about €15,000.00. Gifts over €250 are tax-deductable, and can be of added benefit to the donor or the College.
The College is seeking one hundred Patrons of the Organ, who will contribute €5,000 each towards its reconstruction. Each Patron of the Organ will be presented with a newly designed memento, featuring one of the pipes from the original College Chapel Organ.
Republic of Ireland: Make cheques payable to Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth and forward to The President, Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth, County Kildare.
Northern Ireland & UK: Make cheques payable to Maynooth Educational Trust and forward to The President, Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland.
USA: Make cheques payable to Irish Educational Development Foundation (IEDF) and forward to The President, Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland.