St Patrick’s Cathedral
St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin is one of the oldest institutions of the city. It is the National Cathedral for the Church of Ireland, and a magnificent building which is reminiscent of centuries gone. This is also the tallest church in Ireland. the spire alone is a whopping 43-metres tall. The St. Patrick’s Cathedral is also the largest church in Ireland. There are many reasons apart from the scale of the construction alone, which make this a beautiful destination for tourists, both local and foreign. Let us look at some of the aspects of this cathedral which make it a significant site in Ireland. The St Patrick’s Cathedral has, since its establishment been a significant site for Christians, and many still come on pilgrimages to visit the cathedral.
History of St Patrick’s Cathedral
Though the Cathedral was founded in 1191, Saint Patrick baptized people into Christianity on the site in the fifth century! That is approximately 1600 years ago. It was the very site which would later become the Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. The first documented reference to there being a church at this site dates back to the end of ninth century. This is referred to as Saint Patrick’s “in insula”. It is also evidence that this site has always been a hub for Christians in Ireland.
In 1219, the first Dean of the Cathedral was elected. There have since been 67 Deans of this Cathedral, and William FitzGuido was the very first. The current Dean is William Morton. Though the Cathedral had been founded back then, it was in a less grand smaller building. The building that we identify today was constructed later, between 1220 and 1260. In 1270, Fulk De Sanford made the addition of the Lade Chapel to the Cathedral. It is during this time, that the Cathedral begins to approach its current scale and size. It was in 1492, that one of the most famous events in the Cathedral’s history took place. Gerald Fitzgerald “chanced his arm” in the chapter house that year. In later years, during the sixteenth century, the Cathedral also served as a court house.
These are only a few of the countless important events in this Cathedral’s history, from storms blowing down towers to fires damaging entire sides of the cathedral, the history is full of flux and development and all of these factors add to the allure that the St Patrick’s Cathedral holds for tourists.
St Patrick’s Cathedral Today
There are many offices in the cathedral. Some of them are ancient posts which have been around for many centuries, such as the Dean, the Chancellor, the Precentor, Taney and others.
Things to See at St Patrick’s Cathedral
The St Patrick’s Cathedral is filled with historic and remarkable features. Many of these are believed to be blessed, and that is the reason why the cathedral in still a popular site for pilgrimage that Christians from all over the world come to see. Everyone is welcome in the Cathedral, and there is a chapel where Christians from all over the world come to pray and to be blessed.
The Door of Reconciliation is one of the most interesting features, which is known all over the world. The story is that Gerald Mor Fitzgerald, who was the eighth Earl of Kildare, cut a hole in the door, only to shake hands as a gesture of friendship and truce with his butler. This is how the phrase: “chancing the arm” originates.
Also, people who have an interest in the Easter Rising would be glad to know, that it was also the St Patrick’s Cathedral, where Jacob’s Garrison assembled. Their intention was to march to Richmond Barracks.
The cathedral also offers a number of tour facilities for tourists. These include simple walk-in tours that are conducted during certain times of the day. Audio tours are also available, which you can take to delve into the history of the cathedral in more detail. There is also a St Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School, but it is not allowed for tourists to visit this place.
The St Patrick’s Cathedral is also the place where more than five hundred people are buried. Most of them are buried in the graveyard outside, but it is believed that about some are buried under the cathedral floor as well. Some notable figures in history who are confirmed to have been buried here include: Richard Northalis (Archbishop of Dublin), John de Sandford, Hugh Inge, Marcus Beresford, Michael Boyle, Fredrick Schomberg, Jonathan Swift and Thomas Cromwell.
The Organ of the St Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the most fantastic things about this historical place. It is in fact the largest organ in all of Ireland! the organ is built with more than 4000 pipes, and there are parts of the current instrument which are taken from the Renatus Harris, a majestic instrument of 1695. Henry Willis and Son rebuilt that instrument in the 1890s. It has also ben renovated after that once, by Sir George Martin. If you are lucky, you can hear this instrument come to life and fill the entire cathedral with its sickly sweet and melancholic melodies. The choir school is also active after many centuries of being established. There are weekly practices, and many people come to hear the young boys and girls sing in their beautiful voices.
St Patrick’s Cathedral Tours
FREE education programmes are available for Primary, Secondary, Third Level and Community Groups within the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Pre-book your Group tour (at least 10 people) and get discounts. Request form to be filled out for group tours.
Self-guided Cathedral admission for groups is also available.
St Patrick’s Cathedral Opening hours
March – October
November – February
|Monday – Friday||09:30 – 17:00||Monday – Friday||09:30 – 17:00|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Saturday||09:00 – 17:00|
- 09:00 – 10:30
- 12:30 – 14:30
- 16:30 – 18:00
- 09:00 – 10:30
- 12:30 – 14:30