The story so far st. Patrick’s Cathedral


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St. Patrick’s Cathedral,


Robert Kerr,

Bill Magowan,

and a cast of some


“Dia dhaoibh a dhaoine uaisle go léir, agus fáilte roimh go hArdeaglais Naomh Pádraig, Baile Átha Cliath.”

It’s always nice to start a tour of the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland with a few words of welcome in Irish. (See Appendix A for some useful welcoming phrases in various languages.) This short booklet is an attempt to put together all the little pieces of information available in various sources, including those listed below. It is not intended to be either definitive or conclusive, and hopefully new editions with corrected and enlarged stories will emerge in due course. In the meantime, I wish to express my grateful thanks to a number of people, without whom this booklet would have been a great deal shorter, and quite possibly still floating about in cyberspace. Chief among these is my mentor and friend, Bill Magowen, a man of knowledge, wit, good humour, patience, and charm, all of which he uses liberally on the delighted visitors to the Cathedral. I sometimes bow to Bill as he talks to visitors, calling him “Sir William”, before moving on and leaving a newly admiring public. I make sure to move away before he can rally and call me something in return! Others to whom I have enormous gratitude, not necessarily in any particular order, include David Millar, who interviewed me and rather rashly admitted me to the team of volunteer guides but who has been a great support ever since; Louis Parminter (whose name is an anagram of “PE is mortal ruin”!), who manages to smile and offer a few words of encouragement every time he sees me; the many other full-timers, all of whom are charming and welcoming; and – of course – the legions of expectant tourists who pour into the Cathedral week after week and stimulate me into finding out more about the building, its history and the surrounding area. Thank you all! I’m only in my second year at this but it’s been great fun so far.
Robert Kerr

June 2011

Useful sources:

Volunteers’ Notes for St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin (2010) David Millar

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Tour Script – 2011 (2011) Louis Parminter
The Monuments in St. Patrick’s Cathedral (1987) Victor Jackson
The Stained Glass of St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin (undated) Lesley Whiteside

About one thousand six hundred years ago, a boy of about 16 called Patrick was captured in Britain by Irish raiders and brought back here to work as a swineherd (looking after pigs) or shepherd (looking after sheep) in what is now County Antrim in the north of the island. Having been brought up in a Christian family (his father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest or presbyter) Patrick found his faith growing during this time of slavery and he records praying every day. After six years he escaped and fled to northern France, where he entered the church and was ordained a priest and possibly a bishop.
Details of Patrick’s life are very unclear and impossible to verify as we have only two letters of his on which to base our knowledge and virtually no authentic secondary sources. Indeed, much of what is now considered to be Patrick’s story was also written about Palladius, sent by the Pope as the first bishop of Ireland in 431 AD, and many believe that the modern day account is actually a conflation of the two stories of Patrick and Palladius. Nonetheless, we believe Patrick felt the call to return to Ireland to preach Christianity and, somewhat reluctantly, agreed, possibly in the year 432 AD. This mixture of reluctance and calling is shown rather nicely in the modern Le Brocquy statue of Patrick, which is situated towards the northwest end of the Nave.

Having landed near present-day Wicklow Town he travelled north and came to open ground (where the Cathedral now stands) at the foot of a hill, where a village stood. There was a well here and Patrick drew up water from this in order to baptise converts to Christianity. (It is important to note here that Patrick was a Christian, not a Catholic. There was still just one branch of the Christian faith, if we ignore the smaller sects that had been quashed, so terms such as “Catholic” can be misleading here.) From here, Patrick continued generally northwards, challenging the High King’s authority at Tara, and baptising and encouraging the spread of Christianity throughout the island. Thus, while he did not introduce Christianity to Ireland (and most certainly did not “rid Ireland of snakes”, there being none here in the first place), he did transform Christianity for the ordinary people by explaining the Trinity using a shamrock, and hence made Christianity the accepted religion in the country, largely ousting the druids.

As mentioned, being certain of details is impossible, but it is generally accepted that Patrick died on 17th March (now his patronal festival) in 493, or maybe 461. He was declared a saint by popular acclamation and approved by a local bishop, but he has never been canonised by the Church.
EARLY HISTORY: ~ 400 – 1170 AD
If we travel back in time to when God was a boy and we stand on this spot almost one thousand six hundred years ago, the scene would be very different indeed from today. This was a small, soft island in the middle of the River Poddle flowing from the southwest, and around us there is nothing but open ground and some of our native oak trees. Looking to the north, about 300 metres away, the land begins to rise into a small hill, where there are several small dwellings in an as yet unnamed village. It is a typically Celtic scene, ruled over by local kings (and a single king of all the kings, called the High King, in Tara, about 33km – 20 miles – to the northwest) and by druids, although there were some Christians here too.

Into this pastoral scene comes Patrick, by then a middle-aged man, on his pilgrimage back to Antrim, from where he had escaped many years earlier. He preaches to the locals and baptises those who come forward to join the “new” religion. This happens near the southern base of the hill, using water from a well, now long since covered and disused. (We have no real idea why this well was covered over, especially as it would have been regarded as holy. One of the granite stones that covered the well (just inside the west side gate of what is now St. Patrick’s Park and about 30m from the northwest corner of the Minot Tower) has been rescued and now sits in the northwest corner of the Cathedral, resting on a sign that tells us “St. Patrick’s Well”. I hadn’t heard he’d been unwell, but that’s good to know.) Not long after Patrick had moved on northwards, monks built a small wooden chapel for prayer to mark this holy site in 450 AD. We believe that the Cathedral Baptistery now stands on the site of this early chapel, taking its shape and size. It is, therefore, highly appropriate that this space is now used to baptise infants.

Over the passage of time, the church was enlarged and rebuilt out of wood, most probably the natural oak that abounded locally. The foundations for the building were also made of oak – and they still are – which seems like a strange thing to do in a damp location. However, oak is a very long-lasting wood and the pressure on it from the building above will squeeze any moisture out, thus leaving dry foundations. As well as this, wood is a little more “forgiving” than stone if there is any slight shift in the foundations. Unfortunately, there are no drawings or written records of what the church looked like in these times.
Vikings from Scandinavia first arrived in Ireland in the north-eastern corner of the island in 795 and by 841 had settled in the town on the hill mentioned earlier. They ousted the locals, pushing them down to the plains and away from the security of the hill. The Vikings walled in the area and decided to give it a name: the town of the black pool. This was a pool in the River Poddle to the southeast of the hill. It looked black because of the high turf content of the local soil and it was filled with river eels. The Irish name for this pool was An Dubh Linn and this quickly became corrupted by the Vikings so that it was called the Town of Dublin. The pool no longer exists but its location is known and can be seen in the gardens of Dublin Castle, to the southeast of the main buildings, in the circular area called the Dubh Linn Gardens. Here the brick “snakes” represent the river eels and their eyes light up to guide helicopters landing with foreign dignitaries.

The River Poddle was diverted into a culvert in 1195 and redirected to the west of the Cathedral along Patrick’s Street, from where it flows around the hill, forming a natural moat for Dublin Castle, and then under the eastern part of the lower castle yard (where it is visible in one of the basements) and on into the River Liffey, joining it through a sluice gate at Wellington Quay. The Poddle itself used to spread out after the Black Pool into a very wide estuary. The first crossing of this river to the east of Dublin was the construction of a dam, onto which a road was built. This was called Dam Street, which late became corrupted to Dame Street. (Dame Street itself is a short street, extending only from City Hall to the Central Bank.) Further building was necessary later, and this involved building a bar (or barrier) in the river. This was constructed by John Temple and is therefore known today as Temple Bar, which served for many years as the wharf at the edge of the River Liffey. (Temple Bar extends eastwards along the edge of the Liffey as Fleet Street – where ships docked – and Townsend Street – where the town ended before the sea. On the north side of the river can be found Strand Street, where there was a beach.)

Many of the streets from the old town of Dublin indicate their use: Fishamble Street was where the fish markets were (“amble” is a Viking word for market); Winetavern Street was where the vintners sold their produce; Ship Street (or Sráid na gCaorach in Irish, meaning Sheep Street) was where the sheep markets were; and Golden Lane was the site of the jewellery shops. There are many other examples, and it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that streets began to be built to connect other localities and were then named after the owner of the land used. Hence, these tend to be found in what were then the suburbs of the town.

Many common sayings have also come down to us in Ireland from medieval times, and markets in particular. When a market was set up, maybe once a week, a large iron “nail” was driven into the ground. This stood about one metre high and looked like a small table. When a transaction was completed the buyer put his money on the nail so that everyone could see he was paying the agreed price. Thus we have the saying “to pay on the nail”, meaning an open and honest payment at the point of sale. At pretty much every market there was one chancer. This often took the form of a man selling piglets in small bags called “pokes” (like the Irish word for pocket, póca). These would be offered for sale at a price low enough to entice men into a quick sale. The chancer’s assistant would already have several bags tied up and ready but these would contain wild cats, worth nothing at all. Hence we get the saying “to buy a pig in a poke” meaning something you haven’t checked out and is not what you were led to believe. Of course, if one of the purchasers opened his bag there and then he would be “letting the cat out of the bag” and the game was up. Another saying, specific to Gothic cathedrals, refers to their design of having a stone bench all around the interior walls of the building. This was because only the priests and the choir had seats, while everyone else stood. Services of worship could take a long time and those who hadn’t enough energy to remain standing went to the wall to sit. Hence we have the saying nowadays that a business that is no longer sustainable by its own funds has collapsed or “gone to the wall”. Many visitors find the background to these sayings interesting.

MIDDLE HISTORY: 1170 – 1700 AD
The Norman Invasion took place in two stages, the first (a small invasion) in 1169 and the second (a large invading army under King Henry II) two years later. This resulted in a new type of control in Ireland, and especially in Dublin, where the Vikings were pushed out, settling the northern side of the Liffey for the first time, in Oxmantown. The Normans brought with them the skills of building large buildings out of stone. (Previously, buildings tended to be built either out of wood or of dry stone.) We know there was a large stone church, called St Patrick’s in insula (i.e. on the island in the middle of the river), on this site in the year 1178, since it was mentioned by Pope Alexander III in that year. Six stone slabs from that building were discovered during the restoration (1860s) and two of these are now on display in the cathedral, on the west side of the South Transept.

Dublin had been created an archiepiscopal see in 1152, and John Comyn (or Cumin), the first Norman Archbishop, had the church rebuilt in stone. This new church was dedicated on St. Patrick’s Day (17th March), 1192 to “God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St Patrick”. It was also dedicated as a collegiate church, meaning it served as a college for young men training for the ordained ministry. Their workspace was in the North and South Aisles on each side of the Nave and the choir, and there is a memorial in the form of a sub-deacon (or ‘undergraduate’) near the entrance to St. Stephen’s Chapel. Comyn’s successor, Archbishop Henry, rebuilt the church twenty years later leaving a church pretty much in the shape it is today. Christ Church Cathedral (inside the city walls) had been built about a hundred years earlier but was under the control of the Augustinian friars, so Henry II had St. Patrick’s made into a secular cathedral, i.e. not a monastic one. Its canons (or priests who formed the board of management of the cathedral) were also “prebends”, that is they derived part of their stipend from the produce of church land. These features, and the ground plan of the cathedral, were very similar to Old Sarum in Salisbury, abandoned in 1219. The Lady Chapel and the side chapels, dedicated to St. Peter (to the north) and St. Stephen (to the south), were built by Archbishop Fulk de Saundford (1267-71), who became the first Archbishop of Dublin to be buried in St Patrick’s.

In Medieval times cathedrals were not built in the manner of large buildings today, which generally begin with sizeable foundations and continue upwards more or less evenly, storey by storey. Rather, one section of the building – often the sanctuary – was built virtually completely first, with other parts being added later bit by bit. Generally, one set of working drawings was used by the builders, and frequently the architect would amend these to show changes he wished to introduce. Scaffolding was wooden and pulleys and winches were used to haul large stones to great heights. However, methods were not exact and it was relatively commonplace to find a wall bowing or sagging, and sometimes collapsing. This, in part, contributed to some of the disasters befalling the Cathedral during the fourteenth century.
In 1316 the spire was blown down in a violent storm and the following year the cathedral was set on fire in an attempt to delay the conquest of Edward the Bruce, proclaimed High King of Ireland and brother of the Scottish King Robert I. Shortly thereafter, in 1319, locals invaded the building and looted many of the treasures. There followed forty years of relative calm, but a serious fire in 1362 caused extensive damage. This was blamed on the negligence of the Sexton, John. Repairs were carried out by Archbishop Minot, who also built the 45 metre high tower at the northwest corner of the cathedral. This was completed in 1375 but the spire wasn’t added until 1749. (Hence, the two very different types of stone used for the tower and the spire.) Unfortunately the tower collapsed less than 20 years later, in 1394, and with it came a large portion of the Cathedral. Then, in about 1550 the vaulted ceiling in the Nave collapsed, leaving the Nave unusable for the following century and a half.

During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the interior of the Cathedral was divided into several distinct spaces. As already mentioned, the North and South Aisles were screened off to serve as a training college for young men who wished to enter the ordained ministry. The South Transept housed a large room known as the Chapter House, which functioned as a sort of Board Room for the Cathedral, where the Dean and the Canons of the Cathedral, collectively called the Chapter, met to discuss issues relating to the running of the building, both spiritual and secular. It was the great oak door to this room that was damaged in 1492 in the fight between the Earls of Ormond and Kildare. The battle, going very badly for Ormond, looked like resulting in his death and he fled to the Cathedral and into the Chapter House, shutting the door behind him with the large wooden beam. Eventually the fighting ceased and a truce was negotiated. Then Kildare, taking his sword in hand, drove it through the door and hacked out a hole large enough for him to thrust his arm through. He gave Ormond the choice of shaking hand and becoming allies or cutting his arm off and staying enemies. This choice between two extreme events – one where everyone wins and the other where everyone loses – became known as “chancing your arm”. Fortunately, Ormond chose to shake hands; thus enemies were reconciled to friendship, making a fitting memorial in the Cathedral.

The North Transept was also screened off from the rest of the Cathedral, forming a separate entity (with its own door in the north wall) known as the parish church of St Nicholas Without. This name always causes great amusement among the visitors, and when asked what Nicholas might have been without there are usually many ideas, with just a few pure souls suggesting “a wife” or “a horse”. Most have rather baser thoughts and are somewhat surprised to discover that he was “without Dublin”, in the old sense of without as the opposite of within. This church had galleries and held a great many worshippers but by 1770 it was largely in ruins. The North Transept was rebuilt in 1822 but did not return to full Cathedral use until the restoration of the early 1860s.

These three insertions into the Cathedral – the college in the side aisles, the Chapter House and the church of St Nicholas Without – would have made a major difference to the internal appearance of the Cathedral, but probably even more striking was the addition in the thirteenth century of the “pulpitum”. This was a sacred square area at the Crossing blocked off by a high stone screen between the four large pillars at each corner. The only people allowed inside were the Dean, other priests, and the choirboys and men. The earliest mention of a choir in the Cathedral is from 1432, when the Choir School was founded by Archbishop Richard Talbot. It was possible to both see and hear through the screen itself but it could not be entered by the ordinary (or “common”, “vulgar” or “rood”) people; hence it was called a “rood screen”. The present cast iron railings at the entrance to the Choir (or “Quire”) act as a modern rood screen. Inside the pulpitum were the high altar (just to the west of the present rood screen), the pulpit, the lectern (both where they still are), the Dean’s chair and seating for the choir. Later, an organ was added on top of this screen. This console is similar to the one now situated in the North Transept just beside the helical staircase to the organ gallery. Lay members of the congregation were permitted to sit in pews in the area now reserved for the choir – that is, east of the altar – from the middle of the sixteenth century until the great restoration of the early 1860s, when the pulpitum was finally removed.

The Nave itself has also gone through a number of changes, including being used for secular gatherings in medieval times, since there were no other public meeting halls in those days. Mostly the Nave was divided into two areas, with the secular area in the half nearer the great West Door and a spiritual area in the other area. The demarcation between these was a Chantry Chapel dedicated to St Michael, built in 1495. Thus, the Cathedral formed both the spiritual and the secular focus for people’s lives in the area, functioning as both a meeting place and a place of worship, either in one of the side chapels or in the main body of the Cathedral itself.
Towards the end of the seventeenth century, in 1664, the Lady Chapel was blocked off for the sole use of the Huguenots – French Presbyterians who had chosen exile over conversion to Catholicism. This arrangement continued until 1816, and is marked by a large bell, the gift of grateful Huguenots, now to be found in the northwest corner of the North Transept. During this period the South Transept vault threatened to collapse and was removed and re-roofed in 1668. Also in that year, large buttresses were added to the outside of the Cathedral to aid stability. (Nowadays, in the increasingly secular society in Ireland, many of those formerly known as “pillars of the church” have become buttresses, supporting it from the outside!) The Nave itself was re-roofed in 1671, finally restoring the use of this area to the worshippers.

Without doubt the biggest social upheaval of this period began during the reign of King Henry VIII (1509 to 1547). The Christian church had been describing itself as “catholic” (meaning universal or worldwide) ever since early in the second century, even though Christianity was then confined to small parts of Europe, Asia Minor and coastal fringes of northwest Africa. Then, in spite of several minor splits within the church during the first millennium, as Christianity spread throughout the then known world use of the adjective seemed to be appropriate. However, after the Great Schism of 1054, when the Eastern Orthodox Church formally split from the church centred on Rome, it became more difficult to justify calling the church catholic, especially after the discoveries of large quantities of Africa, Asia and North and South America. Nonetheless, this is what the European Christian Church did, with the implication that it was both the one true church and that it was to be found everywhere. With the Eastern Orthodox Church largely confined to regions that had limited interaction with Europe it was easy to ignore this schism, but the changes of the early sixteenth were not so convenient, pitting as they did friend against friend, family against family, and ultimately country against neighbouring country.

The Reformation of the early 1500s and, in particular, the formal split from Rome in 1534, were both momentous and unintended. The brief historical context below is given mainly because it happened in Europe before the start of American history and so is largely unknown to many of the biggest single group of visitors to the Cathedral, namely those from USA. The salient facts are as follows:

  • Martin Luther intended to reform the Church, changing or abolishing certain practices that he felt had no biblical justification. He did not seek to split the Church.

  • Henry VIII was a staunch supported of the Church in general and the Pope in particular and he wrote a tract roundly denouncing Luther’s “95 theses”. For this the Pope named him “Fidei Defensor” or “defender of the faith”. British coins today still include “Fid. Def.” or “F.D.” beside the monarch’s head.

  • When Henry could not obtain permission from the Pope for a divorce from Catherine (who had been his brother’s wife), eventually he declared himself to be the head of the church in England and then gave himself permission to divorce. This caused a major rift between England and the rest of the Church.

  • Henry did not intend to split from Rome, but gradually he espoused more and more of Luther’s arguments and practices were changed to emphasise the differences between England and Rome. The Church of Ireland, the official church in this country at the time, automatically absorbed all new practices in the Church of England.
  • St Patrick’s Cathedral was a Christian cathedral from the start and would have described itself using the term “Catholic”. Following the Reformation in the sixteenth century it was identified as being “Anglican and catholic”, with a lower case c to differentiate it from Roman Catholicism. The Cathedral simply followed the direction of the monarchy; it neither took a decision to change denominations nor was it “stolen” from the Roman Catholic Church.

This period also saw major changes inside the building, sometimes being brightly painted and ornamented, unlike the modern ethos associated with the Church of Ireland. In 1560 the spire of the Cathedral held Dublin’s first public clock and the building was effectively closed during the Commonwealth of 1649 – 1660 under Oliver Cromwell, who stabled his horses in the side aisles.

MODERN HISTORY: 1700 – 2000 AD

The most notable figure in this period of the Cathedral’s history is undoubtedly Dean Jonathan Swift. Born in Dublin in 1667 and educated in Kilkenny College and Trinity College Dublin, Swift was a young man at the time of publication of Isaac Newton’s “Principia Mathematica”, the death of Charles II and the war between his successor James II and William III. He moved to England in 1689, returning five years later to take holy orders and prebendary of Kilroot, near Belfast. After three more years near London he was appointed vicar of Laracor, Co. Meath and prebendary of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1700. Travelling to and fro between Ireland and England from 1702, Swift was awarded the D.D. degree from Trinity College Dublin the following year and wrote widely during this decade, during which he also began his friendship with Vanessa (Esther Vanhomrigh, who died in 1723). Installed as Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1713 he immediately returned to London for a year. By 1716 there was much gossip about a possible secret marriage to Stella (Esther Johnson, whom he had first met when she was 8 and he was 22), but this was untrue. Stella died in 1728, the love of Swift’s life, but unrequited because of his phobia of touching other people’s skin. In 1726 Swift published what is probably his most famous work, “Gulliver’s Travels”, which is actually four books in one and is most often known only for the first book, namely Gulliver’s travels in Lilliput. Swift was an extraordinary man, being simultaneously intelligent and a prolific author on the one hand and very much a man of the people on the other. He spent a great deal of his time walking through the streets of Dublin, talking with and listening to the ordinary people, and he became aware of the great need for protection and treatment of those with mental illness. This led him to leave the bulk of his estate for the founding of a new hospital, later called St. Patrick’s Hospital (and still known to some as “Swift’s Hospital”), for those who suffered from mental ill health. St. Patrick’s is now both the largest and the oldest psychiatric hospital in these islands and one of the oldest in the world, with a world-class reputation. Two rumours about Swift persist to this day – that he became mad in his later years and that he was one of the first patients in his own hospital. Neither of these is true. In fact, he suffered from Ménière’s Disease (causing vertigo and bouts of dizziness), not insanity, and his hospital was not opened until 1757, twelve years after he died. Jonathan Swift remains one of the best-known Deans in the Cathedral’s long history. Two death masks and a cast of his skull are to be found in the display cabinet in the south aisle near his bust.

The Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick was founded by King George III in 1783, beginning with fifteen knights in addition to the sovereign but later expanded by King William IV to allow for 22 knights. The order was one of chivalry, ranking behind the Orders of the Garter (in England) and the Thistle (in Scotland), and was confined to members of the nobility. The banners of 24 KP knights from 1865, together with their ceremonial helmets and swords, are now on display in the Choir above the knights’ stalls. Following the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Ireland, disassociating it from the State (effective from 1st January 1871), the Knights of St. Patrick removed their base from the Cathedral to Dublin Castle, where their banners are now to be seen in St. Patrick’s Hall (the location of the inauguration of our presidents). A full list of the knights appears on display boards around the Cathedral. The only woman to be a member of the Order was Queen Victoria and, in spite of the Order’s close connection to the Church of Ireland, several Roman Catholics were admitted as members. Following independence in 1922 no further Irish knights were sanctioned by the Irish Government. However, three further knights – all members of the British Royal Family – were made: the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor) in 1927, and his brothers Prince Henry (Duke of Gloucester) in 1934 and Prince Albert (later George VI) in 1936. The Duke of Gloucester was the last surviving Knight of St. Patrick; he died in 1974. However, the Order has never been wound up and a revival of the Order has been considered by the government on a number of occasions. This would require a referendum to change the constitution of Ireland, which bans the conferring of titles of nobility.

As regards the fabric of the building, following the re-roofing of the Nave in 1671 the state of the Cathedral gradually deteriorated over the next 150 years. By the early nineteenth century the South Transept gable was leaning out, the west gable of the Nave was leaning in, and the south arcade of the Nave was about 60cm out of the perpendicular. In addition the choir vault was threatening to collapse and had to be replaced by a plaster imitation. Repairs of this nature were extremely expensive and were exacerbated by the lack of work carried out on the building in such a lengthy time. Nevertheless, between 1845 and 1852 Dean Packenham did manage to carry out refurbishment of the Choir (costing £8,000) and the Lady Chapel was rebuilt. This coincided almost exactly with the time of the Irish (Potato) Famine, when over two million people (out of a total population of 8.5 million on the island) either died from starvation or emigrated. (The population of Ireland as a whole has never again reached this total, dropping to 4.2 million in 1930 and currently being 6 million.) This left major and urgent work to be carried out on the Nave and transepts of the Cathedral, according to plans drawn up by the architect, Carpenter, but the projected cost (£30,000) was way beyond the means of the Cathedral either to pay directly or find through fund-raising. To say that the Cathedral was lucky to have Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness among its congregation is a massive understatement. As head of the Guinness family he offered to pay for the entire restoration work – but on his terms. This was agreed to in 1860 and left Guinness free to make day-to-day decisions without having to resort to the Dean or Chapter every time an issue arose. In the event, Guinness followed Carpenter’s plans exactly, leaving us more or less with the wonderful building we have today, which was rededicated in 1864.

Carpenter’s plans involved the removal of the screens between the aisles and the Nave, the removal of the rood screen and the transfer of the altar to the original east end of the building, and the demolition of both the Church of St. Nicholas Without and the Chapter House, thus incorporating virtually the entire building into one open space for worship for the first time. Unfortunately, there are no photographs and very few drawings of how the Cathedral looked before the restoration and almost no records of what was done, who did the actual work and when, and what was removed or covered up in the process. This makes it very difficult to know exactly which parts of the cathedral are genuinely medieval and which are Victorian pastiche. In particular, there is no definitive knowledge about how many people are buried in the Cathedral, or their names. Some say there are up to 600 buried in the Nave but we cannot be sure of this. However, we do know of at least 10 deans and 3 bishops or archbishops who are interred within the walls. The most visible of these is the tomb of Archbishop Fulk de Saundford, the first Archbishop of Dublin to be buried here and who died in 1271. The tomb is to be found in the North Choir Aisle.

The box pews were introduced in the restoration of the early 1860s. The second and third of these on the south side of the crossing were for Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, but the front pew was for the Lady Anne Plunket, who was Guinness’s daughter and was married to Archbishop Plunket (whose statue is in Kildare Street, just south of Leinster House). Plunkett himself, however, was not permitted to sit in this seat with his wife – he was allocated the front pew on the eastern side of the South Transept. This dubious “honour” of being in the front row but far behind the rest of the family was a reminder to the Archbishop that, although important, he did not hold an official ecclesiastical role in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. St. Patrick’s is a very unusual cathedral in several ways. Firstly, it does not have a crypt or basement, owing to the softness of the land on which it is built. Secondly, it is a cathedral but without a cathedra – the official seat of the local bishop or archbishop. The Archbishop of Dublin’s cathedra is in Christ Church Cathedral, just up the hill, and although St. Patrick’s is in the See of Dublin it is not of that See (just as we have the Sundays in Lent but not of Lent, leaving just the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Eve rather than the actual 46 calendar days). St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the national cathedral for the Church of Ireland and hence contains national (rather than local) memorials. At certain times in history, including the mid-nineteenth century, there were attempts made to bring St. Patrick’s within the ambit of the Dublin Diocese but this was strongly resisted. The deliberate seating of the Archbishop behind lay members of the congregation was a signal to him that he was present because they allowed it rather than of his own will. While this situation officially continues today, in practice there is no longer any friction between the Archbishop and the actual head of St. Patrick’s – the Dean.

Also in the Crossing, on the north side opposite the Guinness pews, is the State Pew. This is where the Viceroy used to sit when he attended the Cathedral and the royal coat of arms is still to be found on the outside of the pew. Nowadays it is where the President of Ireland sits with his/her consort. The President’s seal of office of a gold harp on a blue background is now on the back of the pew.
The largesse of the Guinness family has continued since the restoration, including the provision of the floor tiling in the 1880s, designed and paid for by Arthur Guinness (Lord Ardilaun, who is best known for laying out St. Stephen’s Green), the eldest son of Benjamin Lee Guinness, who in turn was grandson of the famous Arthur Guinness. During the restoration some medieval tiles were salvaged from the South Transept (particularly the eastern end) and were re-laid in the Baptistery. These can still be seen here today and the colour, size and design of these tiles inspired the tiles used on the floor throughout the rest of the Cathedral. In order to allow for the heating pipes to be submerged without disturbing the many burials beneath the floor the level was raised by about 40 cm, thus completely covering the original floor. This also had the effect of reducing the seating ledge around the walls of the Cathedral from comfortable seating height to a mere 15 cm or so.

Arthur, Lord Ardilaun also paid for the installation of a window (in St. Stephen’s Chapel, second on the right in from the railings) dedicated to his sister, Lady Plunket, who had died in 1889, with the biblical quotation “I was thirsty and ye gave me drink”, very fitting for a member of the Guinness family! Arthur’s younger brother, Edward, took over the Guinness family business from him and was later appointed the first Earl of Iveagh. In 1901 Edward donated a peal of bells to St. Patrick’s cathedral and he paid for the installation of a new organ in the north gallery of the Choir, along with the helical staircase leading up to the organ loft from the North Transept. This is, in effect, the Cathedral’s 110-year old “baby”, being the newest structural addition to the building and, for the benefit of any Led Zeppelin fans among the visitors, I often refer to this as our “stairway to heaven”! Lord Iveagh also cleared, laid out and donated St. Patrick’s Park to the people of Dublin; he built the Iveagh Market in Francis Street; he donated the Iveagh Gardens between Harcourt Street and Earlsfort Terrace to UCD (they are now public gardens); and his sons later gave his townhouse, Iveagh House on St. Stephen’s Green, to the Irish State. As part of a major urban renewal plan Lord Iveagh established the Iveagh Trust and built a vast assembly of apartments between Patrick Street and Bride Street, including a school and public baths. This Trust still provides housing and amenities for the poor of inner city Dublin.

Many visitors ask how can you tell that the Cathedral is not (Roman) Catholic. This can largely be seen from the simplicity of the architecture, with the addition of the many memorials around the outer walls but without the Stations of the Cross usually found in Roman Catholics churches. In addition, there is a large cross on the altar (the “empty” cross reminds us of the resurrection), but no crucifix (where the body of Jesus reminds us of his death). Matters are sometimes confused by the presence of the Lady Chapel, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary (sometimes incorrectly assumed to be part of Catholicism but not Anglicanism), the prayer candles in St. Peter’s Chapel (again more usually associated with Roman Catholicism), and the rosary beads for sale in the shop. Occasionally these inspire interesting discussions with visitors who ask about the differences between the denominations and whether Roman Catholics are allowed attend “masses” in the Cathedral. I point out that everyone is welcome to attend and that those who feel comfortable doing so may partake of the elements during the Holy Communion service. I also point out that both Presbyterian and Roman Catholic priests were appointed to the Chapter in 2007, indicating the close ties that now exist among the various Christian denominations.


St Patrick:

There are several representations of St. Patrick inside the Cathedral, varying hugely in style. It is important to remember that we have absolutely no idea what he looked like, his height or body shape, or any of his features, in spite of his importance in the story of Irish Christianity. No drawings or sketches of Patrick exist and – in spite of occasional questions from American visitors – we clearly have no photographs of him either! The oldest statue purporting to be of Patrick is to be found in the South Transept (mounted on the west wall). However, this is formed from three separate pieces from different eras. First there is the head, which shows an anachronistic mitre – not used until many centuries after Patrick – and which is only about 200 or 300 years old. Then there is the body, about 800 years old and showing vestments of either a bishop or a crusader, so this is about 800 years after Patrick. The join between the head and the body is clearly visible. Finally, the feet come from a third, unknown statue, making a composite that may or may not bear a resemblance to our patron saint!

Nearby in the South Transept is a small wooden model in a glass case, also using the well established but anachronistic mitre and vestments in a popular representation of Patrick. The newest, and potentially the most accurate, representation is to be found in the Nave on the north side beside a pillar towards the west end. This is a bronze working of a statue by Melanie le Brocquy from 1941. It shows Patrick in authentic clothes of his period, leaning backwards to indicate his reluctance to return to where he had been enslaved but holding his hands out to baptise those who came forward.
Carolan or Turlough Ó Carolan:

Carolan was the last of the Irish bards, living from 1670 until 1738. He caught smallpox when he was 18 and this left him permanently blind. He had a great love of music and learned to play the harp, becoming a touring musician. He married at the age of 50 and settled in Mohill, County Leitrim. Carolan was a friend of Dean Swift and his most famous “Concerto” was first played in the Deanery. The monument to Carolan in the North Aisle was erected in 1874.

The Heads:

There are two different sets of heads visible in the Cathedral. The first set includes the pair outside the southwest door (the main entrance nowadays) where Archbishop Ussher appears on the left (west) and Dean Pakenham on the right (east). It was Ussher who used biblical references and other texts to calculate that the earth began on 10th November 4004 B.C. (A 6000th birthday party for the earth was held in Trinity College Dublin on 10 November 1996; I was in attendance!) Pakenham was Dean of St. Patrick’s (1843-1864) at the time of the restoration. This set also includes the heads on the Great West Door, where Dean Dawson (1828-1842) appears at the north side and Dean Verschoyle (1794-1810) to the south.

The second set is to be found at the base of each Gothic arch atop the pillars in the Nave. We believe that each mason involved in cutting stone for the restoration was permitted to carve one figure that would be added to the arches. This figure could be of himself, his wife, a member of his family, or – as in a couple of cases – a pet. There are no records as to who carved which head or whom they represent, but they add an interesting uniqueness to each pillar.


These statues are to be found in the North Aisle and together form a splendid collection of statuary.

Fitzgibbon: Chancellor of the United Dioceses of Dublin, Glendalough and Kildare; died 1909, aged 72.
Buckingham: First Grand Master of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick; died 1813, aged 60.
Whiteside: Brilliant advocate and orator; defended Daniel O’Connell; made Attorney General and Lord Chief Justice; died 1876, aged 72.
Ogle: M.P. for Wexford; supported Catholic Emancipation and 1798 rebellion; died 1814, aged 71.
Boyd: Captain of H.M.S. Ajax, drowned at Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) attempting to save the crew of a brig. (There is also an obelisk in his memory on Dub Laoghaire East Pier.)

Coats of Arms:

Beneath the West Window can be seen several coats of arms. These include a royal coat of arms, apparently of King George I (1714-1727), showing arms from Germany, a fleur-de-lis of France, and a harp of Ireland. There are also coats of arms for five archbishops from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: Hugh Curwen (1555-1567), one time chaplain to Henry VIII; Thomas Jones (1605-1619), Lord Chancellor of Ireland whose tomb is in the North Aisle; Lancelot Bulkeley (1619-1650), imprisoned for using the Book of Common Prayer against Cromwell’s orders and who is buried in the Cathedral; James Margetson (1660-1663), first Archbishop of Dublin after the see had been vacant for ten years under Cromwell; and Michael Boyle (1663-1678), who made extensive repairs to the See Palace of St. Sepulchre (now the Kevin St. Garda Station). The one Archbishop of Dublin missing in this sequence is Adam Loftus (1567-1605), who resisted the founding of a university in the Cathedral but later became the first Provost of Trinity College Dublin. He is buried in the Cathedral but is not the Adam Loftus who was killed by the cannon ball hanging in the Choir.

Regimental Colours:

It was common practice in times past to hang the colours (i.e. the flags) of disbanded regiments in a church. The Cathedral being the national church for the Church of Ireland it was felt most appropriate that these colours should be hung here.

Beneath the West Window are two glass-fronted cases containing fragments of the flags carried by Irish Regiments in battles in the nineteenth century. On the left (south) are those of the 86th Royal County Down Regiment (later to become the Royal Irish Rifles and then the Royal Ulster Rifles) from their engagements in the West Indies, India and elsewhere between 1824 and 1867. On the right (north) are those of the 87th Prince of Wales’s Own Irish Regiment (later renamed the Royal Irish Fusiliers) from the Peninsular War and the Battle of Barossa (near Cadiz) in 1811.
In the North Transept many more such regimental colours are to be found, including:
The Royal Irish Regiment (1684-1922, not to be confused with the Royal Irish Regiment founded after independence in 1922), which served under William III at the siege of Namur (Belgium); at the battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill in 1775 in the American War of Independence; at the siege of Toulon in 1793; as well as in China, Afghanistan (1879-1880), South Africa and World War I (including Ypres, the Somme and Gallipoli).
The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (1881-1922), which included the 100th Foot Regiment in Dublin (1804-1818), which served in the Napoleonic War and the Royal Canadians (1858-1881) and included four winners of the Victoria Cross in the First World War.

The 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars (1693-1922), which had undergone several name changes, including Dragoons. A brass plaque in the South Aisle commemorates Lieutenant Guy Pinfield of the Hussars who was killed in the upper yard of Dublin Castle during the Easter Rising, 1916.


The Boyle Monument at the west end of the Nave is clearly not the work of a modest man and has had a chequered history in the Cathedral. Originally built in 1631 and erected where the altar now stands (at that time the altar being in the Crossing), it was rapidly denounced by Thomas Wentworth, the Viceroy, as “one of the most scandalous pieces that ever was”. On account of this vanity, as he saw it, Wentworth deprived Boyle of much of his privilege and income. The monument was then moved to the south side of the Choir, after which it was boxed and stored for some time before being moved to its present position at the southwest end of the Nave during the restoration. The monument itself was commissioned by Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, in memory of his second wife, Katherine, her parents and grandfather (Robert Weston, Dean of St. Patrick’s up to 1573), and shows some of the Boyle children, including Robert – the famous chemist and discoverer of Boyle’s Law, often called the “father of modern chemistry” – in the lowest central arch.
The Jones Memorial in the west end of the North Aisle commemorates Archbishop Thomas Jones (see Coats of Arms above), who was appointed Dean in 1581, aged 31. It was Archbishop Jones who donated the Book of Kells to Trinity College Dublin. His wife was sister-in-law to Archbishop Loftus, whom he succeeded in 1605. He was staunchly anti-Roman Catholic during the Plantation of Ulster. The upper part of the memorial shows Jones in his Chancellor’s robes at prayer and the lower portion shows his son Roger, 1st Viscount Ranelagh, surrounded by kneeling figures. The monument was restored in 1731 at Dean Swift’s request but has suffered further damage since. It is thought that this monument was worked by Edmond Tingham, who was also responsible for the Boyle monument.

The Archbishop Whately Effigy, in the southwest corner of the South Transept, is made of white marble and commemorates Richard Whately (1787-1863) who was Archbishop of Dublin from 1831 until his death. His was an unpopular appointment in many circles, being too low church for some, too liberal with Catholicism for others, and holding Unitarian sympathies in the view of yet others. He had, briefly, been Professor of Political Economy in Oxford and, on his elevation to the See of Dublin, endowed a similar chair in Trinity College Dublin. Whately was an eccentric and a great talker, being fond of debating and puns. A mirror image miniature of his monument is to be found in the freestanding cabinet nearby. He is buried in Christ Church Cathedral.

The Schomberg Memorial in the North Choir Aisle was erected by Dean Swift to commemorate the bravery of a soldier who fought in the armies of the House of Orange, Sweden, France and Portugal, and was invited by Charles II to command the English army but declined. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 forced Schomberg and 856,000 other Huguenots to flee France and he went to Berlin, serving in the army there and acting as the leader of the Huguenot refugees in that region. In 1688 he rejoined William of Orange’s expeditionary force to England as Commander-in-Chief and had some success in Ireland. However, he was killed in the Battle of the Boyne and is buried in the Cathedral.
The Marsh Monument, in the South Transept, is a memorial in marble to Narcissus Marsh, Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Archbishop of Dublin, Archbishop of Armagh and founder of Marsh’s Library, the oldest public library in Ireland, in 1701. Born in England in 1638 and ordained in 1662, he moved to Dublin in 1689 to take up his post at Trinity. He held all the high ecclesiastical offices in Ireland and was also one of the Lord Justices of Ireland. He died in 1713, aged 75, and is buried in the Cathedral grounds. This memorial was originally sited in the graveyard next to the library wall but Swift moved it indoors in 1728 to the southwest end of the Nave. It was moved to its present position during the restoration of the 1860s. Marsh was well known as a scholar and scientist and was highly respected in Ireland.

The Smyth Memorial on the south wall of the South Transept commemorates Arthur Smyth, Archbishop of Dublin, and consists of a large classical monument with marble columns and a large urn in a niche. Born in Limerick in 1706, he studied in Dublin and then Oxford and was an accomplished scholar in the arts. Appointed to the See of Dublin in 1766, he was “revered for his sanctity, integrity and simplicity”, according to the inscription on his monument. This monument was erected by his brothers and was originally located in the South Nave but was moved to its present position in the restoration of the 1860s.

The Dubhghlas de hÍde (Douglas Hyde) Memorial, on the South Aisle wall, honours the 1st President of Ireland, 1938-1945. He was an Irish language scholar and became known as “An Craoibhín Aoibhinn” (“the pleasant little branch”), the pen name he used in his early writings. He founded the Gaelic League, a highly influential cultural organisation of the era. Highly respected as a scholar and representative of the Irish nation, he was nominated by the major parties in the Dáil and was elected unopposed. The fact that he was a Protestant sent a signal that the emerging Irish nation was for all people, not just Roman Catholics. Hyde’s style of presidency was quiet, increasingly so after a debilitating stroke in 1940 that left him incapacitated and in need of a wheelchair. One of his last acts as President was to visit the German Ambassador on 3rd May 1945 to offer his condolences on the death of Adolf Hitler. He died in 1949, aged 89, having chosen not to seek a second term of office.
The Erskine Childers Memorial, also on the South Aisle wall, commemorates the 4th President of Ireland, also a member of the Church of Ireland. Elected in 1973, he served only one year in office before a fatal heart attack (while speaking on the subject of health to a dinner in doctors and surgeons). Born and educated in England, he moved to Ireland and became a naturalised citizen in 1938. He was elected to the Dáil and served in several ministries before being elected President. He died in 1974, aged 68.

Many American visitors are interested to know that the President of Ireland is a non-executive post, unlike in the US. Our Presidents are apolitical and respond to the will of the people rather than set agendas. One example is of President Hillery, a keen sailor, who set sail one afternoon from Howth into the Irish Sea. He travelled out about 15 miles from the coast, which meant he had left the Irish territorial waters that stop at 12 miles out. The following day questions were asked in the Dáil about who gave the President permission to leave the country, thus reminding him that he was the servant of the people rather than a free agent. This independence from party politics also enables the President to question legislation if it is felt necessary.

There are a great many plaques on the inner walls of the Cathedral, mostly referring to nineteenth century figures. These were erected largely around the restoration period.
In the Choir of the Cathedral on the ceiling are to be found four bosses that represent the four Evangelists. From the Crossing and moving eastwards towards the altar are four winged figures for Matthew (a man, showing the human side of his gospel), Mark (a lion, reminiscent of the Resurrection), Luke (an ox, showing service and strength) and John (an eagle, for the Ascension and divinity of Jesus).


Many visitors ask if the windows are Medieval. The answer is that there are no windows from this period remaining and we believe that, at most, there are only fragments of ancient glass left. During its lifetime the walls of the Cathedral often moved slightly, leaning in or out, and when this happened it is likely the first things to give were the windows. There are no pieces of glass that are definitively Medieval here.

The West Window, in three major panels or “lights”, shows 39 episodes in the life of St. Patrick including his early life and hardship in the left panel (capture, slavery, and escape); his mission in Ireland in the right panel (calling, consecration, and using the shamrock to help explain the Trinity); and his ministry and death in the centre panel (the establishment of Christianity, baptising at Tara, and being warned by an angel of his death). This window was erected in 1864 as part of Guinness’s restoration. It was made by Wailes and company in Newcastle, England and was restored in 2007.

The North Transept (Iveagh) Window is the most modern window in the Cathedral. Installed in 1937 at the behest of the Guinness family and in memory of Edward, 1st Earl of Iveagh (1847-1927), it replaced a window showing Jesus’ ascension that had been included during the restoration. This window, made by Strachan in Scotland, represents Charity (the church) ministering to the needs of all mankind, depicted by figures of all races and a line of grey figures thought to symbolise those killed in World War I. The tree is probably meant to be the tree of life, the apple tree from the Garden of Eden.

The South Transept Window, like the West Window, was executed by Wailes and installed in the restoration. The Fall of Man, the Redemption and the Promises are depicted in 19 medallions, to be read from bottom to top first in the left light, then the right and finally the middle panel.
The East Window, situated in the Lady Chapel but visible from the Nave, is dedicated to Henry Pakenham, Dean of St. Patrick’s from 1843 to 1863. This was designed by Pakenham’s daughter and made by Wailes with the cost being borne by donations from friends and family. Pakenham’s sister, Catherine, married Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington.
The King Cormac Window, in the east wall of the North Transept, either shows King Cormac, an early Irish convert to Christianity (sometimes attributed to St. Patrick even though Cormac died many decades before Patrick’s appearance), or an Irish bishop, warrior and scribe named Cormac whose death is recorded in 908 A.D., and it commemorates those Irishmen who were killed in the South African War. It was designed by Sarah Purser, painted by Alfred Child and installed in 1907.
Also in the same wall as the King Cormac Window can be found (partially hidden by the helical staircase to the organ loft) a window showing a scene from Sebastopol in memory of those Irishmen who died in the Crimean War.
The Pulpit

The pulpit is made of Caen stone with red Cork marble columns and a balustrade of Galway marble. It was erected in 1864 by Benjamin Lee Guinness in memory of Dean Pakenham, who had died the previous year. The figures represent Saints Peter and Paul and the four Evangelists. The sounding board above is made of pitch pine, designed by the Cathedral architect of the time, James Fuller, and was the gift of John Robinson in 1876.

The Lectern:

The lectern is made of brass and was donated in memory of Dean Henry Jellett, who had died in 1901. It was erected in 1903 and on it is placed the bible donated to the Cathedral in 1902 by the Friendly Brother Order to commemorate the coronation of Kind Edward VII.

The lectern is in the shape of an eagle standing on a globe and carrying the bible. This represents the scriptures being carried into all parts of the world. The eagle has been used on lecterns since before the Reformation and is reminiscent of the soaring spirituality to which John’s gospel rises, particularly in the first chapter.

The Organ:

The present organ dates from 1902 and is the largest organ in Ireland, but there has been organ music in St. Patrick’s since the fourteenth century. The Harris organ of 1697, standing on the rood screen that separated the Nave from the pulpitum, was particularly impressive and was played by Handel on 29th January 1742. Some of the pipes from that organ were incorporated into the present Henry Willis organ when it was moved to the chamber above the North Aisle, again paid for by the Guinness family. The organ was restored in 1963, when the console was replaced. The original 1902 console now stands in the North Transept at the foot of the helical staircase. Further restoration work was carried out in 1995.

The Bells:

The first mention of bells in the Cathedral is in 1244 but the first official record dates from 1363 in a Papal petition, the year after a fire destroyed the steeple, the northeast corner of the building and the bells. A large bell was placed in the Minot Tower in 1443 and repairs were carried out on two bells in 1555. After the Restoration of the monarchy a peal of eight bells was installed in 1670. During the restoration works in the Cathedral Sir Benjamin Guinness added two new bells and his son, Lord Iveagh, presented a peal of ten bells in 1897. Two further bells were donated by Lord Chief Justice Cherry of Ireland in 1909 to give a peal of 12 bells. This was increased to 14 bells in 1925 and a fifteenth was added in 2008. Thee are now 14 bells in the ringing peal, including two of the original 1670 bells.

The Book of Remembrance:

This record of the Irishmen who died in the First World War consists of eight volumes. 100 copies of these were made for distribution to the principal libraries in Ireland. The 49,400 names include all those who had been in the Army but not necessarily all those from the Navy, Air Force or colonial regiments. Approximately 200,000 Irishmen are thought to have served with Allied forces during that war. The title page and borders are by the Irish artist Harry Clarke.

The Church of Ireland:

The Church of Ireland is a reformed catholic church; it is both Anglican and Irish. “Anglican” means we are in communion with the Church of England and all of the other provinces within the group. Each province is independent and elects its own bishops and archbishops. Practices may vary from one province to another but all agree on fundamental matters of theology. Our “catholic” tradition implies continuity with the past, which we treasure, including the same creeds and orders of ministry as other Christian churches. We maintain that the Bible contains everything necessary for salvation and that in teaching and doctrine the Bible is the supreme authority.

The Church of Ireland is committed to an ecumenical process of growing close to other Christian denominations in worship, faith and service. As well as full membership of the Anglican Communion, the Church of Ireland is also a member of the Porvoo Communion (a fellowship of Anglican and Lutheran churches who share common sacraments and ministry) and the World Council of Churches. (Note that the Roman Catholic Church has never been a member of the World Council of Churches.)
People of all faiths and none are welcome to worship in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. They may receive Holy Communion if they believe it is accord with their own faith.

Appendix A: Some useful phrases of welcome




Hello, good afternoon

Bonjour, bonjour



Au revoir / bon chance

Auf Wiedersehen

Welcome to St Patrick’s Cathedral

Bienvenu(e) à la Cathédrale Saint Patrick

Willkommen auf dem St Patrick’s Cathedral

My name is Robert

Je m’appelle Robert

Ich heiße Robert

Pleased to meet you

Heureux de vous rencontrer

Freuen uns auf sie


S’il vous plait

Bitte (Schön)

Thank you


Danke (Schön)

Do you speak English?

Parlez-vous anglais?

Sprechen Sie Englisch?

How are you?

Comment allez-vous?

Wie geht’s?

I am well, thank you

Très bien, merci

Mir geht’s gut, vielen Dank

Sorry / excuse me



I don’t understand

Je ne comprends pas

Ich verstehe nicht

How do you like Dublin?

Comment vous aimez Dublin ?

Gefällt es dir Dublin?

Yes, no

Oui, non

Ja, nein













Hello, good afternoon

Salve, buonbomeriggio

Hola, buenas tardes




Welcome to St Patrick’s Cathedral

Benvenuti al St Patrick’s Cathedral

La bienvenida a la Catedral de San Patricio

My name is Robert

Il mio nome è Roberto

Me llamo Robert

Pleased to meet you

Piacere di conoscerti

Mucho gusto


Per favore

Por favor

Thank you



Do you speak English?

Lei parla inglese?

¿Hablas inglés?

How are you?

Come stai?

Cómo se?

I am well, thank you

Sto bene, grazie

Soy así, gracias

Sorry / excuse me

Mi scusi

Sentimos / perdón

I don’t understand

Io non capisco

No entiendo

How do you like Dublin?

Come si fa come Dublino?

¿Cómo le gusta Dublín

Yes, no

Si, no

Si, no










Appendix B: Timeline for St. Patrick’s Cathedral

0-33 Jesus on earth

432 Patrick/Palladius in Ireland

450 First church on the site of the Cathedral

  1. Vikings arrive in Ireland

841 Vikings settle and found Dublin
1054 Great Schism with Eastern Orthodox churches
1152 Dublin made an Archdiocese

1169 Norman invasion

1178 First reference to a stone building on Cathedral site

1192 Dedication of collegiate church to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Patrick

  1. River Poddle diverted into culvert

1270 Lady Chapel and side chapels built

13th/14th centuries Cathedral divided into Aisles (college), Nave (split in two), Church of St. Nicholas Without in North Transept, Chapter House in South Transept, and pulpitum in Crossing

  1. Spire blown down

1362 Fire cause extensive damage to Cathedral

1375 Minot Tower completed

1394 Minot Tower collapsed; major damage to Cathedral

1432 Foundation of Choir School; first report of a choir in the Cathedral
1492 Skirmish between Earls of Kildare and Ormond; Chapter House door damaged

1495 Chantry Chapel of St. Michael built in the Nave

1534 Henry VIII declared himself head of the church in England; official beginning of the Reformation

1550 Nave ceiling collapsed; nave unusable until 1671

1560 Cathedral spire held Dublin’s first public clock

1649-1660 Cathedral closed for worship under Cromwell

1664-1816 Huguenots used Lady Chapel for worship

1168 South Transept re-roofed

1713-1745 Jonathan Swift Dean of St. Patrick’s

1749 Present spire added to Minot Tower

1770 Church of St. Nicholas Without in ruins

1783 Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick founded

1822 North Transept rebuilt
1845-1852 Restoration of Choir and Lady Chapel

1860-1864 Restoration of remainder to Cathedral by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, including removal of Aisle screens, Chapter House and Church of St. Nicholas Without and addition of new windows and box pews

1871 Disestablishment of Church of Ireland; Knights of St. Patrick move to Dublin Castle

1880 New floor and heating provided by Lord Ardilaun

1901 New organ, organ loft and stairs provided by 1st Earl of Iveagh

1922 Independence for Ireland as British Dominion

1937 Declaration of Irish Republic

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