The Church of Saint Francis is in a part of Cork still known as 'the marsh'. The exterior bears a stone dated 1586. This Byzantine style church was designed by John Bently after an extensive tour of the Middle East. Opened in 1953, the style was very unusual for Ireland and was considered improper by many, including the cardinal of the time. The simple red brick and stone pillared porch belies the extraordinary decoration that awaits within.
Lavish mosaics by Italian craftsmen can be seen in several parts of the church, but those that line the walls of the four side altars and the apse are the most impressive. Some consider these to be too rich, but the high weightless domes of the nave give the church an openness and freshness that seem to counterbalance the lush mosaics.