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St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
St Patrick's Cathedral Exterior, Dublin, Ireland - Diliff.jpg
53°20′22″N 6°16′17″W / 53.33944°N 6.27139°W / 53.33944; -6.27139Coordinates: 53°20′22″N 6°16′17″W / 53.33944°N 6.27139°W / 53.33944; -6.27139
Country Republic of Ireland
Denomination Church of Ireland
Previous denomination Roman Catholic
Churchmanship High Church
Dedication Saint Patrick
Style Gothic
Completed 1191
Diocese Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough
Province Province of Dublin
Dean W. W. Morton
Precentor P. R. Campion
Chancellor N. J. Sloane
Organist/Director of music Stuart Nicholson
Organist(s) David Leigh
Organ scholar Martina Smyth

Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland, founded in 1191, is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. With its 43-metre (141 ft) spire, St. Patrick's is the tallest church in Ireland and the largest. Christ Church Cathedral, also a Church of Ireland cathedral in Dublin, is designated as the local Cathedral of the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough.

The cathedral is the location for a number of public national ceremonies. Ireland's Remembrance Day ceremonies, hosted by the Royal British Legion and attended by the President of Ireland, take place there every November. Its carol service (the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols), celebrated twice in December, including every 24 December, is a colourful feature of Dublin life.

On Saturdays in autumn the cathedral hosts over twelve ceremonies at which new graduates of Dublin Institute of Technology receive their degrees.

The cathedral, which generally receives no State funding, welcomes all, with a chapel for those who come simply to pray and a small fee for those who wish to sight-see. The Cathedral website mentioned in 2006 that visitor numbers had reached around 300,000 a year.

The cathedral is supported by a volunteer organisation, with both subscribing and life members, who perform various tasks and contribute materially to the work and fabric of the cathedral. In addition, there are a range of voluntary groups performing specific tasks, such as bell-ringing, welcoming of guests and cleaning.

In 2006, the cathedral's national prominence was used by a group of 18 Afghan migrants seeking asylum, who occupied it for several days before being persuaded to leave without trouble.


St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

In 1192, John Comyn, first Anglo-Norman Archbishop of Dublin, elevated one of the four Dublin Celtic parish churches, the one dedicated to Saint Patrick, beside a holy well of the same name and on an island between two branches of the River Poddle, to the status of a collegiate church, i.e., a church with a body of clergy devoted to both worship and learning. The church was dedicated to "God, our Blessed Lady Mary and St Patrick" on 17 March 1191.

The basis of the present building, as noted, the largest church in Ireland, was built between 1191 and 1270, though little now remains of the earliest work beyond the Baptistry.

An order from King Henry III in 1225 allowed the collection of donations from across the island for reconstruction for a period of four years, and the work, in the Early English Gothic style, lasted at least until re-dedication in 1254.

St Patrick's Cathedral Lady Chapel, Dublin, Ireland - Diliff
Lady Chapel

The Lady Chapel was added around 1270. By the early 17th century, the Lady Chapel was said to have been in ruins.

The tower (Minot's Tower) and west nave were rebuilt between 1362 and 1370, following a fire. The name commemorates Thomas Minot, Archbishop of Dublin 1363–75, who oversaw the rebuilding.

From the very earliest years there were problems with seepage of water, with a number of floods, especially in the later years of the 18th century, caused by the surrounding branches of the River Poddle – even in the 20th century, it is reported that the water table was within 2.3 metres (7.5 feet) of the floor. This situation ensured there would never be a crypt or basement area.

Choir school and grammar school

Choir of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, 2016 07
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

The choir school continues and although originally all-male, now also admits girls; a Cathedral Girls' Choir was founded in 2000 and sings once or twice a week. The girls are mostly from either the choir school or St Patrick's Grammar School, which provides a secondary education. It is no longer compulsory for grammar school pupils to be in the choirs, although many of the girls are, and a few boys; many of the boys leave when their voice breaks.

Choirboys are considered professional singers and are paid monthly for their services. The girls are not. The choir also sings very occasionally at weddings for the well-off and receive payment for this. Until 1998 they received a large discount on their education; they are still offered free music lessons.

Chivalric chapels

Knight of the Order of St Patrick
Knight of the Order of St Patrick
  • Knights of St Patrick. From 1783 until 1871 the cathedral served as the Chapel of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, members of which were the Knights of St Patrick. With the dis-establishment of the Church of Ireland in 1871 the installation ceremony moved to St Patrick's Hall, Dublin Castle. The heraldic banners of the knights at the time of the change still hang over the choir stalls to this day.
  • Paris-Malta obedience of the Order of Saint Lazarus (statuted 1910). The Cathedral contains the so-called Dunsany Chapel which is the spiritual home of the order in Ireland. The decoration of the chapel was provided for by Randall Plunkett, 19th Lord Dunsany, who established the order in Ireland in 1962. The cathedral is used for its investiture ceremonies and the Dean of the Cathedral is an Ecclesiastical Commander of the order.

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