St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh (Roman Catholic)

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Saint Patrick's Cathedral
Catholic Cathedral of St Patrick in Armagh
Main front of the Cathedral
Saint Patrick's Cathedral is located in Northern Ireland
Saint Patrick's Cathedral
Saint Patrick's Cathedral
Shown within Northern Ireland
54°21′08″N 6°39′37″W / 54.352255°N 6.660376°W / 54.352255; -6.660376Coordinates: 54°21′08″N 6°39′37″W / 54.352255°N 6.660376°W / 54.352255; -6.660376
Location Armagh, County Armagh
Country United KingdomNorthern Ireland
Denomination Roman Catholic
Consecrated 1904
Architect(s) Thomas Duff - 1838
J. J. McCarthy - 1853
Style Gothic Revival
Years built 1840-1904
Length 63.3m(212ft)
Width across transepts 36m(120ft)
Number of spires 2
Spire height 63m(210ft)
Diocese Armagh
Province Armagh
Bishop(s) Archbishop Eamon Martin
Dean John Connolly

The present Catholic St. Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, Northern Ireland was built to replace the medieval Cathedral, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, which had been retained by the Church of Ireland since the Protestant Reformation.

It is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland. The Cathedral stands on a hill, as does its Anglican counterpart, and has twin spires.


The altar includes St. Patrick and other saints.

Around 1980 changes were made to Cesare Aureli's high altars, Beakey's pulpit, the rood screen, McAdorey's choir stalls, and the 1875 Telford organ. The Armagh archdiocese also removed its marble high altar, two side altars with their respective reredoses, pulpit and rails.

Some, however, have found the re-ordering out of joint with the original building: "Neither the quality of the replacements nor the skill of the craftsmanship can disguise the total alienation of the new work from the spirit and meaning that was McCarthy's ecclesiological and architectural inspiration. In this setting, these modern intrusions appear dispassionate and irrelevant" (UAHS, 1992). Architectural historian Jeanne Sheehy wrote of the re-ordering as "the replacement ... of a fine late Gothic revival chancel with chunks of granite and a tabernacle that looks like a microwave".

The cathedral was further renovated in 2002-2003, replacing the tabernacle with the archbishop’s throne. The renovation works also involved the restoration of a number of the brass screens removed in 1980 which were welded together to form a screen in front of McCarthy's lady chapel reredos; the laying of modern tiling to the entire sanctuary area and the addition of a new Tabernacle in the Sacred Heart Chapel designed by Ashlin and Coleman in c.1904. Some restoration work was also done to the ceilings paintings, done by Italian painter Oreste Amici.

Weekday mass is held Mondays to Saturdays at 10:00am. On Saturday evenings, there is a Vigil Mass for Sunday at 7:00pm. On Sundays, Mass is celebrated at 9:00am, 11:00am & 5:30pm. On Holydays mass is celebrated at 9:00am and 11:00am. Confessions are usually heard before and after the Saturday evening vigil mass.



The organ of Armagh Cathedral was originally built by the renowned organ builder William Telford in 1875. In 1987, the organ was rebuilt, enlarged and tonally destroyed by the Irish Organ Company Ltd. who also provided a new terraced drawknob console. The rebuild was designed by the late John Holmes with the Cathedral Organist Baron George Minne as a consultant. All of the old pipework and casework was not restored and retained. The organ now has elements of the English, French Cavaille-Coll and European style, the dominant sound being French. The organ currently has four manuals and 58 stops.This organ presently is a very sad confirmation of John Holmes crazy ideas and Irish Organ Company's lack of experience.


Positif: Gelind Gedeckt 8, Bell Gamba 8, Singend Principal 4, Koppelflute 4, Nasard 2 2/3, Octavin 2, Tierce 1 3/5, Petit Cymbale III, Cromorne 8, Zymbalstern, Tremulant (adjustable), Octave, Great to Positif, Swell to Positif, Bombarde to Positif,

Great: Double Diapason 16, Open Diapason 8, Gamba 8, Bourdon 8, Principal 4, Flute Ouverte 4, Twelfth 2 2/3, Fifteenth 2, Fourniture V, Cymbale II (an overall crazy screaming affair,) Bombarde 16, Trompette 8, Clairon 4, Swell to Great, Positif to Great, Positif Sub-Octave to Great,

Swell: Open Diapason 8, Stopped Diapason 8, Salicional 8, Unda Maris 8, Principal 4, Doublette 2, Plein Jeu III, Basson 16, Cornopean 8, Clarion 4, Tremulant (adjustable), Octave, Sub-Octave,

Bombarde: Flute Harmonique 8, Voce Umana 8+8, Carillon III, Orlos 8, Trompeta Magna 16 (TC from Trompeta Réal 8), Trompeta Réal 8, Clarin 4 (From Trompeta Réal 8), Campanabella (one octave of bells),

Pedal Gravissima 32, Principal 16, Violonbasse 16, Bourdon 16, Double Diapason (Great) Violone 8 (From Violonbasse 16), Gedecktbass 8, Principal 4, Doublette 2, Grosse Fourniture III, Carillon II, Bombarde 16, Basson 16 (Swell) Trumpet 8 (from Bombarde 16), Clarion 4 (From Bombarde 16), Orlos 4 (From Orlos 8, Bombarde) Positif to Pedal, Great to Pedal, Swell to Pedal, Bombarde to Pedal, Great and Pedal Pistons Coupled.


The Organist of St. Patricks Cathedral is George Minne from Belgium born in 1924. He has been a dedicated organist for over 50 years. He has a vast repertoire of Bach, Handel, Mozart and various French composers. He also is a most accomplished pianist and composer. And every day plays in his house as well as giving lessons to young and old. If you want to hear this beautiful organist perform go to the Sunday mass 9am and 5.30pm he is an organist well worth listening to!


  • Buildings of Co. Armagh by C. E. B. Brett, published by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society in 1999
  • St. Patricks Cathedral, Armagh. Tomas Ó Fiaich. The Irish Heritage Series: 58, Eason & Sons Ltd, Dublin, 1987.

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