Dublin, Ireland

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland

Full dedication: Cathedral Church of St. Patrick
Became a Cathedral in the late 1200s

Like Christchurch Cathedral, St. Patrick's is built on marshy ground - it actually has a river running underneath it. Like many Cathedrals and Churches across Ireland it is claimed to have been founded by St. Patrick, although there is little concrete evidence to support this. During the medieval period the two Cathedrals were great rivals.

In the late 13th Century Henry, the Dean of St. Patrick's, decided his church was a Cathedral and began a programme of rebuilding and enlarging. The Pope intervened in 1300 declaring Christchurch to be the true Cathedral, but the rebuilding went on unabated.

Sadly the spire wasn't built very well and was blown down in 1316 and two fires subsequently gutted the building sparking even more rebuilding, some of which was done hurriedly and in a rather slipshod manner (the west tower is out of alignment with the rest of the building).

When the Reformation arrived in Ireland St. Patrick's became just a Church once more. In 1554 Cathedral status was reasserted, but later the same year the roof collapsed. Oddly enough within 10 years Christchurch suffered a similar fate.  Both Cathedrals became ruinous during Cromwell's disastrous stay in Ireland and never regained their full glory until the Victorians arrived and rebuilt them both.

St. Patrick's biggest claim to fame, aside from being the Mother Church of Ireland (the equivalent in England is Canterbury), is that Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels, was Dean of the Cathedral and is buried here. A more modest man, the famed blind harpist Turlough O'Carolan, is also buried here.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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