St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh (Church of Ireland)

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The Cathedral Church of St. Patrick, Armagh
Cathedral of the Diocese of Armagh and Metropolitan Cathedral of the United Provinces of Armagh and Tuam
Armagh Cathedral (Church of Ireland).jpg
The Cathedral Church of St. Patrick, Armagh is located in Northern Ireland
The Cathedral Church of St. Patrick, Armagh
The Cathedral Church of St. Patrick, Armagh
54°20′52″N 6°39′22″W / 54.3478°N 6.6562°W / 54.3478; -6.6562Coordinates: 54°20′52″N 6°39′22″W / 54.3478°N 6.6562°W / 54.3478; -6.6562
CountryNorthern Ireland
DenominationChurch of Ireland
FoundedAD 445
Founder(s)Saint Patrick
DedicationSt Patrick
ConsecratedAD 445
DioceseDiocese of Armagh
ProvinceProvince of Armagh
ArchbishopThe Most Reverend Richard Clarke
DeanThe Very Reverend Gregory Dunstan
PrecentorThe Reverend Canon Norman Porteus
ChancellorThe Reverend Canon Drew Dawson
ArchdeaconThe Venerable Terry Scott (Archdeacon of Armagh)
Organist(s)Dr Stephen Timpany
TreasurerThe Reverend Canon Bill Adair
St Patrick's Cathedral sign, November 2009

St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh (Irish: Ardeaglais Phádraig, Ard Mhacha) is the seat of the Archbishop of Armagh in the Church of Ireland. It is located in Armagh, Northern Ireland. It is also the cathedral of the Diocese of Armagh.[1]


The origins of the cathedral are related to the construction in 445 of a stone church on the Druim Saileach (Willow Ridge) hill by St. Patrick, around which a monastic community developed.[2] The church was historically the centre of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. The cathedral and its assets were appropriated by the state church, called the Church of Ireland, as part of the Protestant Reformation in Ireland. The English government under King Henry VIII of England transferred the assets. It has remained in Anglican hands since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. A Roman Catholic cathedral, also called St Patrick's Cathedral, was built on a neighbouring hill in the nineteenth century. Cordial relations exist between both cathedral chapters.

The church itself has been destroyed and rebuilt 17 times. The edifice was renovated and restored under Dean Eoghan McCawell (1505-1549) at the start of the sixteenth century having suffered from a devastating fire in 1511 and being in poor shape. Soon after his death the cathedral was described by Lord Chancellor Cusack as ‘one of the fairest and best churches in Ireland’.[3] Again it was substantially restored between 1834 and 1840 by Archbishop Lord John George Beresford and the architect Lewis Nockalls Cottingham. The fabric remains that of the mediaeval building but much restored. While Cottingham was heavy-handed in his restoration, the researches of T. G. F. Patterson and Janet Myles in the late twentieth century have shown the restoration to have been notably antiquarian for its time. The tracery of the nave windows in particular are careful restorations as is the copy of the font. The capital decoration of the two western most pillars of the nave (either side of the West Door internal porch) are mediaeval as are the bulk of the external gargoyle carvings (some resited) of the parapet of the Eastern Arm. Cottingham's intention of retaining the richly-cusped West Door with flanking canopied niches was over-ruled. Subsequent restorations have more radically altered the internal proportions of the mediaeval building, proportions which Cottingham had retained.

Many other Celtic and mediaeval carvings are to be seen within the cathedral which is also rich in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century sculpture. There are works by Francis Leggatt Chantrey, Louis-François Roubiliac, John Michael Rysbrack, Carlo Marochetti and others.

The Choral Foundation, dating from the Culdees, and refounded as the Royal College of King Charles of Vicars Choral and Organist in the cathedral of Armagh, continues to the present. There are generally a dozen Gentlemen of the Lay Vicars Choral and sixteen boy choristers.

The Maundy Money was distrusted at the cathedral in 2008: a plaque in the south aisle commemorates this event.[4]

Notable burials[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Funary Monuments & Memorials in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh" Curl, J.S: Whitstable; Historical Publications; 2013 ISBN 978-1-905286-48-5
  2. ^ "The Cathedrals of the Church of Ireland" Day, J.G.F./ Patton, H.E. p21: London, S.P.C.K., 1932
  3. ^ The Church Among Two Nations. Published in Early Modern History (1500–1700), Features, Issue 1 (Spring 1998), Medieval History (pre-1500), Volume 6
  4. ^ "Funary Monuments & Memorials in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh" Curl, J.S. p76: Whitstable; Historical Publications; 2013 ISBN 978-1-905286-48-5

External links[edit]