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St. Patrick's Cathedral (Dublin)

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Dublin - St Patrick's Cathedral

Dublin - St Patrick's Cathedral

Bernd Biege

The Bottom Line

One of Dublin's three cathedrals, St. Patrick's is actually the "National Cathedral", lacking the main ingredient that makes a cathedral out of a church - a bishop! Here St. Patrick supposedly baptized the first local converts besides a "Holy Well". Being the largest church in Ireland, St. Patrick's is well worth a visit, though a bit of a walk from Dublin's city center. But for friends of world literature this is a pilgrimage and a must, Jonathan Swift of "Gulliver" fame was dean of and is buried in the cathedral.

Pros

  • National Cathedral of Ireland with several interesting tombs and memorials.
  • Graves of Dean Swift and Stella.
  • Contains chapel of the (defunct) Knights of St. Patrick.
  • Connections to Ireland's patron saint.

Cons

  • Surroundings are run-down and uninviting in places.

Description

  • Locality has Christian tradition reaching back to 450, but present cathedral renovated in 19th century.
  • Largest church in Ireland and "National Cathedral" of the Church of Ireland (Anglican).
  • Last resting place of Jonathan Swift.

Guide Review - St. Patrick's Cathedral (Dublin)

I would rate St.Patrick's as one of the top ten sights of Dublin, though the nearby Christ Church Cathedral is not to be overlooked either. Though standing amidst tenements and run-down Victorian houses, St. Patrick's is still imposing. A church reputedly stood here since Patrick's time and a slab on display attempts to "prove" the connection to the patron saint of Ireland. The current building was not erected until 1191 ... and underwent a massive re-build in the 1860s, financed by Guinness-money.

In the cathedral the visitor is confronted by hundreds of memorial plaques, bsts an monuments. Pride of place goes to the Boyle Family Tomb from the 17th century. Smaller mementos are dedicated to Turlough O'Carolan the harper and Douglas Hyde, the first President of Ireland. And to Jonathan Swift and his beloved "Stella" (Ester Johnson). Do not miss another unusual monument, a door with a hole - here Lord Kildare literally chanced his arm to shake hands with his enemy Lord Ormonde.

One criticism leveled at St. Patrick's (as well as Christ Church) is that "you have to pay to enter a house of worship". This is not strictly true, the entrance fee is only collected from casual visitors, not from bona fide worshippers.

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