Saturday, August 16, 2008

St. Patrick's Catherdral, Anglican Church of Ireland, Dublin Ireland

St. Patrick's Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland and is located at 21-50 Patrick's Close, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

Unusually, Dublin has two cathedrals belonging to the Church of Ireland, which act effectively as co-cathedrals. The Archbishop of Dublin has his official seat in the other one, which is Christ Church Cathedral.

The site of St. Patrick's Cathedral is said to be the earliest Christian site in Ireland, where St. Patrick baptized converts.
A wooden St. Patrick's Church stood on the site from the 5th century to about 1191, when the church was raised to the status of cathedral. The present building was built between 1191 and 1270.

After the English Reformation about 1537, St. Patrick's became an Anglican Church of Ireland Cathedral. During the confiscation process, some images within the cathedral were defaced by soldiers under Thomas Cromwell, and neglect led to collapse of the nave in 1544.
However, because of a major rebuilding in the 1860's by the Guinness family, that was prompted by the belief that the cathedral was in imminent danger of collapse, much of the current building and decoration dates from the Victorian era.
From 1783 until 1871 the cathedral served as the Chapel of the Most Illustrious Order Saint Patrick, for the members of the Knights of St. Patrick. With the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1871, the installation ceremony moved to St. Patrick's Hall, Dublin Castle, but the heraldic banners of the knights, at the time of the move, still hang over the choir stalls to this day.

In 1666, the Cathedral Chapter offered the Lady Chapel for the use of French-speaking Huguenots who had fled to Ireland, and after some repair and preparation works, it became known as L'Eglise Fran├žaise de St. Patrick. A lease was signed on the 23rd December 1665 and was renewed from time to time until the special services ceased in 1816, when the Huguenots had been fully absorbed into the city population.
A view of the pulpit:
A stain glass window that is dedicated to the King Of Cashel whom legend says St.Patrick baptized upon his conversion to Christianity.
These stain glass windows depict the 39 episodes in the life of Saint Patrick, from being captured and sold into slavery as a youth by Irish marauders, to his escape back to Britain, and his return to Ireland to convert the pagans to Christianity, his works in Ireland and his death in old age.

This old chapeter house door is famous because it brought about the reconciliation of two Earls, the Earl of Ormonde, and the Earl of Kildare, within the walls of the cathedral. In 1492, the Earl of Ormonde and the Earl of Kildare were locked in a bloody feud. Kildare chased Ormonde into St. Patrick's. Suddenly, Kildare decided to call off the feud. With his sword, he cut a slit in the wooden door of St. Patrick's and stuck his hand through for a handshake. Ormonde had a decision to make: cut off his rival's hand, or shake it and declare peace. Ormonde put down his sword and shook Kildare's hand. From that day on, this simple wooden door had been known as the "Door of Reconciliation."
An early period statue of Saint Patrick found buried on the grounds during the 1860's restoration of the cathedral.

The Boyle monument (below) was erected inside the cathedral by Richard Boyle Earl of Cork in 1632 in memory of his second wife, Lady Katherine. Her grandfather, Robert Weston was dean of the cathedral (1567–73) and Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Robert Boyle, the famous philosopher and chemist was the youngest son of the Earl of Cork and is believed to be represented in the lowest central arch.

Middle section of the Boyle monument:

The uppermost section of the Boyle monument:

The monument below commemorates Thomas Jones, Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland (d. 1619) and his son Roger Viscount Ranelagh.

Saint Patrick's is headed by a Dean, an office which has existed since 1219, the most famous holder being Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels. He was Dean of the cathedral from 1713 to 1745. Swift's grave and epitaph can be seen in the cathedral, along with those of his friend Stella. Swift took a great interest in the Cathedral, its services and music, and funded an almshouse for poor women and Saint Patrick's Hospital. Each year he gave away a third of his income to help the poor.

Swift's epitaph in translation reads:

"Here is laid the body of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Divinity, Dean of this Cathedral Church, where fierce indignation can no longer rend the heart. Go, traveller, and imitate if you can this earnest and dedicated champion of liberty. He died on the 19th day of October 1745 AD. Aged 78 years."
Today the cathedral is the location for a number of public national ceremonies. Every year in October, the Cathedral hosts a symposium on Jonathan Swift, and a special commemorative Evensong. Ireland's "Remembrance Day" ceremonies, hosted by the Royal British Legion and attended by the President of Ireland, take place there every November. Its carol service, called the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, is celebrated twice in December, including every 24th December. It receives over 300,000 visitors each year and we found it to be a fascinating and enlightening place to visit during our stay in Dublin.
This concludes my week of reflection about some of the special places and events we enjoyed during our May 2008 visit to Dublin, Ireland. Thank you for your interest, and I hope I've enticed you to want to visit yourself one day to see this beautiful and historical country!

If you'd like to read more about our trip, and see some of the wonderful sights we saw while in Ireland, please scroll through my entire "Ireland" labeled posts on my sidebar.


Baby Vagabond said...

Morning, Pat! Once again your photos and essays have enriched my morning. I vowed to spend a little time catching up this morning and am glad I started with you. :-) Rosie (Rosie's Whimsy)

Alex said...

Hi Pat. The chuch is absolutely beautiful. What great architecture. Your choice of music is very soothing to me. I need to find a compilation of what you play...maybe that will help comfort my spirits.

Tara said...


What a great detail about the Door of Reconciliation. What a wonderful post on a beautiful church! Always learn something fascinating here!


steviewren said...

As part of a city tour while in Dublin, we went to Saint Patrick's. I count touring cathedrals as one of my favorite traveling experiences. Unfortunately, when you are with a big group you aren't able to leisurely explore everything as you were able to. Thanks for reminding me of everything I saw so quickly that day.

Barb said...

Hi Pat,

WOW oh WOW!!! What a wonderful trip you had. The pictures and your descriptions make me feel like I am right there. What a beautiful country filled with beautiful people.

Thank you so much for stopping by.
Have a wonderful weekend.


Fifi Flowers said...

Beautiful post... great photos and history... nothing like old churches... the architecture and art work are stunning!
Thanks for sharing... have a great weekend!

Sandra Ree said...

I knew that was the reason I would love to visit Ireland. I find the history of the Catholic Church fascinating! Enjoyed this post, Pat. :)

Cori G. said...

Hi Pat,
I have always loved old cathedrals and this one is beautiful with all the Knight banners. It looks like something out of a fairy tale!
Thanks for a great tour.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Gina said...

Very interesting visit..though your explanation and photos..the stained glass windows are a sight to behold and to learn about St thank you :D Gx

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Pat,
Thanks for another educational and informative post!
One of the things I enjoyed the most in Rome and Paris was the cathedrals and their history!

Grand Life said...

Just loved catching up on your recent posts. Your trip looks wonderful and the art work was wonderful. Is Tuxedo, N.Y. the same as Tuxedo Park. I have long been fascinated with this area.

Joanne Kennedy said...

Wow! What a way to end the week. That is so beautiful. I can only imagine what it was like in person. They sure don't make them like that any more.

I should go to the new Cathedral up in LA to show you the difference.

So tell me. Do you copy your stories or are you using your own words? The only reason I ask is because you always give so much great detail and such great lessons I feel like I'm reading a history book it so great.

I just love your posts. Your photos are always so perfect too.


Beverly said...

Pat, the magnificence and history are just astounding. I am completely awed.

You have been so wonderful to share all of your experiences with us.

Camille said...

The photos are wonderful. I love reading about history in general and so really enjoyed the details you shared. The art and architecture must have been stunning in person.

The information about the Door of Reconciliation was really interesting.

dana said...

Wow. I cannot imagine how it would feel to be inside a building THAT old, with that much amazing history. I will reread this post, as I know there was so much great info. I surely must've missed some things.

How long were you in the Catherdral? Were you with a guided tour? Did you prepare (read up) for your visit to places in Ireland before you actually arrived?

I think I could use a Door of Reconciliation in my home at times! Of course, I would really be taking a chance of losing a limb around here :-)

What a lovely tour---what terrific information. Thank you.

Alex said...

I hope you're having a nice weekend.

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Amazingly beautiful post and the music is lovely too! Thanks for putting these together, Pat. I appreciate your work, so very much!


Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Pat!
Thank you for the wonderful tour of St Patrick's Cathedral, what a great post! And I really enjoyed your posting on St Valentines, one of my favorite saints. You have shown us so many beautiful places in Ireland and taught us such interesting things about so many different aspects of the country. Thank you for all your hard work putting this information together and trying to teach us about a world far away from us.
When I get that big windfall of $$ LOL Ireland will be on my list. If no windfall Wes & I will just have to stow-away on your next trip there!! We'd have a grand time!
Big Hugs, Sherry

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Pat, you have the most amazing pictures and interesting stories to accompany them. I absolutely love the story of the reconciliation door. So much beauty and history. I hope to go there someday and if I don't get to I feel like I have experienced it through your blog. Great Post!!

please sir said...

I've been here too! Such an amazing place...I miss Ireland now!

Tracy said...

Thank you for this magnificent tour, Pat...the details and history are just amazing! Thanks for sharing so much...Happy Days ((HUGS))

Elizabeth said...

An amazing tour! Thank you for letting us join you!

Junie Moon said...

Wow, St. Patrick's Cathedral is awesome. I didn't know that Jonathan Swift regularly gave away a third of his income, what a wonderful thing to do.

Judy said...

And a beautiful cathedral it is! A work of art...a piece of history...and a wonderful story to go with it. Thanks for sharing of your experience.

Pat said...

Thank you everyone for all your wonderful comments. I've enjoyed reading them all.

To answer a few questions that were asked...and I love questions, so don't be shy about asking...

We weren't on a tour when we visited, we just had our handy DK tour guide book with us ( I gave a link to it in my prior St. Valentine post) and I purchased a pamphlet about the church in the gift shop to read more about it later. We spent about an hour in the cathedral, and could have easily spent more time as there was so much to see! I wanted to take a photo of Swift's grave site in the floor of the cathedral, but the brass plate over it was being meticulously polished by a woman and she took so long I had to leave before she was done!

When I write these posts I try to research as much as I can from different sources, mainly the web, and tour books or books I buy at the location, and then I paraphrase what I've learned when I write my posts. If I am quoting directly I give the source and put quotation marks around it.

One of the reasons I love blogging is that it has encouraged me to learn more about the places I visit and gives me the opportunity to share what I learn with others, and hopefully I'll remember more this way and if not I will have this blog to refer back to :-)

I've learned so much from all of your blogs, which I really appreciate!


Kathy said...

Beautiful post Pat, in some ways it reminds me of Lincoln Catherdral. hugs, Kathy.

Lisa B. said...

What an amazing cathedral!! Absolutely awesome architecture and the stained! Thanks for the great tour...and education!!

Lavinia said...

What a long, rich, fascinating history this cathedral has....I love how so many of its secrets have been revealed over time....

I love old churches...would that I could visit this venerable old cathedral one day, on a visit to the Emerald Isle.....

Thanks for sharing all these stories and photos of St. Patrick's....