Dublin 2019 Dublin, Ireland

Come Visit Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin!

Welcome back to #FailteFridays! Next up on our list of historical places to visit is Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. The location of the cathedral is important in two ways. First, the cathedral was built on the same site of a church that was constructed by the King of Scotland. Secondly, the location was chosen because Saint Patrick himself had a well where he baptized early Catholics. If you visit the cathedral today, they have stone slabs on display which were believed to be the entrance to the well. You can see the crosses that have been chiseled into the stone slabs in the picture on the right. It is also believed that Saint Patrick used the wooden church built by the King. Saint Patrick was credited to bringing Christianity to Ireland.

It wasn’t until the 12th century when the small wooden church was replaced with the structure currently standing today. It has maintained the same shape and structure since the time it was built. It has had several restorations over the years. With the English Reformations, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral was transformed into an Anglican Cathedral. Everything was stripped from the insides, such as the statues and decorations. It wasn’t until 1555 where Queen Mary was able to restore the Cathedral to its prior state, placing the statues back and repairing the Cathedral from the neglect it received under English control. Through the years, the Cathedral again fell to dismay and wouldn’t be repaired until the 19th century. Benjamin Guinness offered to pay for the entire restoration which ended up being 150,000 pounds.

This is the stone slab found near the Cathedral which dates back to the 10th century and believed to be part of the doorway where Saint Patrick baptized early Christians from a well. 

In 1869, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral became the National Cathedral for the Church of Ireland. It replaced the Christ Church Cathedral which originally held the title (see my classmate Eden’s post from earlier this semester), which became the local Cathedral for the diocese of Dublin. If you’d like to visit, they have a service every day which includes a choir and clergy. The Cathedral, specifically Archbishop Richard Talbot, formed a Choir School back in the 15th century. It was created to provide education to the choristers and has since been used as a school from third to sixth grade. The choir has had a tradition of singing daily since the time it was created.

If you’ve ever head of the saying, “to chance your arm”, then you already know some history about Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. The story says that two Irish families in the late 15th century were having a dispute about a position of power. The families were the Butlers of Ormonde and the FitzGeralds of Kildare. After some time of fighting, the Butlers realized the FitzGeralds were going to surround their house to try and kill them, so they sought refuge (or sanctuary) inside Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. When the FitzGeralds arrived, they asked the Butlers to come out and make peace. Realizing this could be a trap, the Butlers quickly declined. The head of the FitzGerald family ordered a hole to be cut into the door of the Cathedral and thrust his arm through to shake hands with the Butlers to show his serious intention in the peace treaty.  

This is a famous door from the 15th century which created the saying, “to chance your arm.” Two families had a dispute and they cut a hole in the door of the Cathedral to shake hands while one family was seeking refuge in there from them.

Thanks for reading about Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and if you’re interested, next week’s blog post is going to be on Belfast, and there may or may not be some Game of Thrones pictures and history in there. See ya next time for #FailteFridays!

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