Scotland’s smallest cathedral gets visitor boom after Notre Dame fire

The Cathedral of the Isles in Millport
The Cathedral of the Isles in Millport
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Britain’s smallest cathedral has seen a boom in visitor numbers in the wake of the Notre Dame fire – as the catastrophe ‘brings home how fragile’ things are.

The Cathedral of the Isles, built in 1851 on the Isle of Cumbrae in the lower Firth of Clyde, can accommodate less than 100 worshippers at a time.

Visitor numbers have risen sharply at Britain's smallest cathedral following this week's devastating blaze at Notre Dame in Paris. Picture: AP Photo/Thierry Mallet

Visitor numbers have risen sharply at Britain's smallest cathedral following this week's devastating blaze at Notre Dame in Paris. Picture: AP Photo/Thierry Mallet

But in the aftermath of the devastating blaze in Paris on Monday night, a surge in numbers of visitors has been seen at the 168-year-old building in Millport, on Greater Cumbrae.

READ MORE: Notre-Dame fire: Scots churches urged to ring bells in solidarity

Cathedral spokesman Charles Price said: “With this catastrophe, where human error seems to be involved, it just brings home how fragile things are and how easily things like this can happen.

“We’ve noticed visitors to the cathedral have certainly upped.

“There has been more interest and footfall.

“I think what’s happened, people are always concerned about their own place of worship.

“For us it’s got to be a good thing.

“It makes people aware of where they come from and makes people feel better visiting a cathedral, especially around Easter time when things are changing and people feel buoyant.

“There’s always that element of wanting to be part of the community again.

“Whether Notre Dame’s a factor, it’s hard to say, but it’s certainly made people more aware of what’s on their doorstep.”

The cathedral was built on ground owned by the Boyle family. Its founder, George Frederick Boyle, later became 6th Earl of Glasgow.

It is one of a group of buildings comprising two residential buildings, or colleges, and a collegiate church designed by the famous English architect William Butterfield.

And Fraser McNaughton, minister of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney, said the Easter services have been well attended this week and will join in the bell ringing service in tribute to Notre Dame.

He said: “During holy week we have services every lunchtime and they’ve been well attended.

“We’ll be joining in the national bell ringing tomorrow night for seven minutes to show solidarity with Notre Dame and the people of Paris.”

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