St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh
Pre-eminent over all the churches of Ireland
St. Patrick built a stone church on the hill known as Druim Saileach (Sallow Ridge) in AD445, so beginning the story of Armagh Cathedral. He ordained that Armagh should have pre-eminence over all the churches of Ireland, a position which it holds to this day.
Around the Church Building, in early days, was built one of the most celebrated of the great Irish Monastic Schools to which students came from all over Europe.
Here in 1014, on the 'north side of the great church' was buried Brian Boru High King of Ireland. A plaque on the exterior west wall of the North Transept commemorates this event.
The plan of the Cathedral, as it now stands, is the enlarged design of Archbishop O'Scanlain in 1268. Although the Church on this hallowed site suffered destruction on at least 17 occasions during its long history, it was always restored.
Major restoration took place between 1834 and 1840 and was carried out by Archbishop Lord John George Beresford. He employed one of the most skilled architects of the day, in the person of Lewis Nockalls Cottingham.
The most recent restoration took place in 2003/2004, focusing on the fabric of the building. The most acute problem being the repair and replacement of stonework to 11 aisle windows and 8 clerestory windows.
In addition there were very necessary interior plaster repairs to the aisles, refurbishing of a portion of the south transept used as the Choir Robing Room, cleaning and repair of stonework and tiled floor in the Choir and Lady Chapel with complete interior redecoration and exterior landscaping.
Items of historic interest in the Cathedral include the following:
Statue by Roubiliac of Sir. Thomas Molyneaux M.D. of Castledillon.
Sections of an ancient Celtic Cross dating from the 11th Century which at one time stood on the side of the hill to the east of the Cathedral.
Monument to Dean Peter Drelincourt born in Paris in 1644, a work of the famous sculptor Rysbrack.
The 'Bramhall Chair' dated 1661 being the gift of the Archbishop John Bramha.
Brass Lectern which was the gift of Lord Clermont in 1879.
Military Chapel in South Transept being memorial of the Royal Irish Fusiliers now incorporated in the Royal Irish Regiment.
Marble bust of Primate Richard Robinson (1765-94) by Nollekens.
The 'Tandragee Idol', being an ancient granite figure of an Irish Warrior and believed to date back to Celtic times.
Baptismal font .being the copy of a curiously carved octagonal stone found 7 feet underground near the west door of the Cathedral in 1805. It was designed by the Architect L. N. Cottingham in 1834.
For more information, please visit the Cathedral’s website.