Europe

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest in Dublin

Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the most loved buildings by the Irish people. We must not forget that here the Catholic religion is a differential fact with respect to its neighbors in the United Kingdom. But beyond religion, this temple, the largest in all of Dublin, is a quite beautiful construction that you should not miss on your trip.

Dublin has two cathedrals

exterior of the cathedral

A very short distance away are the two major temples of the Irish capital. They are barely separated by a street. To one side is the Christ Church Cathedral and a few meters away is the St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Both show a beautiful medieval-inspired style. However, due to its larger size and the wide esplanade that surrounds it, Saint Patrick’s is spectacular.

Who was Saint Patrick?

We’ve all heard of Saint Patrick’s Day.. It is a festival that has been exported from Ireland to half the world and is celebrated on March 17. But who was Saint Patrick?

Then It is about the character who promoted Christianity on the island of Ireland. A monk who freed them from the snakes that flooded this territory. And he managed to make them understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity by resorting to a very simple pedagogical resource: a clover. Hence that plant is an Irish symbol.

Besides, this saint founded a first church next to a water well and there he baptized his followers. That would happen back in the 5th century. It would be then when a small wooden temple would be built in the same place where Saint Patrick’s Cathedral stands imposing today.

The current Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

Cathedral detail – psyberartist / Wikimedia Commons

The initial wooden temple and much more modest than the current one would be maintained with certain modifications over the centuries. It was at the end of the 12th century when it was decided to build a stone church that would replace it.

 

This was a work of proportions not seen before in Ireland, since its construction lasted from 1190 to 1270. A magnificent temple and pride of the country.

But do not think that it is the one that you will contemplate on your trip to Dublin. No. That work was in danger of collapsing, so In the last third of the 19th century, a profound reform was carried out that modified its appearance. Of course, that reconstruction was done in a neo-medieval style.

A visit inside the cathedral

Cathedral interior – Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons

As we have said, the view from the outside of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is most attractive. But we also recommend paying a visit inside. There are very striking elements that show that this place is not only a religious space.

It is a place brimming with history, but also with the culture with which the Irish identify. Here we tell you some of the details of what awaits you inside the temple:

the baptismal font

We have already mentioned that Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is in the place where this saint baptized the 5th century Celts who managed to convert them into Christians. The well where he made it is not preserved. But despite the reforms and changes, yes The medieval baptismal font is perfectly preserved.

the crypt

Also among the oldest in St. Patrick’s Cathedral is its crypt. Actually, the crypt, dating from the twelfth century, it is one of the oldest structures that can be visited in all of Dublin.

The organ and the choir

cathedral choir

Another striking element of the visit is the great organ. An instrument made up of no more and no less than 4,000 tubes. And then there is the choir. In 1742, the voices that sang for the first time the Messiah Handel’s. And later the banners of the Order of Saint Patrick were installed there and are still flying.

Chapter Gate

Under one of the pulpits you will see a door with a hole in it. It is a piece of the history of the place. Into that hole the Earls of Kildare and Ormonde put their hand. Being one on each side they were able to settle their enmity in the fifteenth century.

Jonathan Swift’s grave

In the cathedral of San Patricio there are different buried personages. But surely none reaches the universality of Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels. It is a pleasant surprise inside the church. Although the rare thing during a trip to Dublin is not to get one surprise after another.

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