When you think of an old Irish Cathedral probably the first image that comes to your head is of St.Patrick’s Cathedral. St.Patrick’s is built on the original site of the church from 850 ad. The church today serves a different role than it did back in the time of it’s origin. It is one of the largest tourist sites in all of Ireland. It is also a repository for the history and culture of the Irish people.
St. Patrick’s is not the oldest standing Cathedral in all of Dublin, Christ Church was built when the Normans came to Ireland. It is also not the oldest running church in Ireland, That honor would go to St.Nicholas in Galway. In fact the church as you see it today is relatively new. Arthur Guinness is the reason St. Patrick’s still exists today. This Gothic styled cathedral was renovated to the point of basically being rebuilt in the 1800s.
When Arthur Guinness was making his fortune he realized he should be giving back to the community. That is the real legacy of the Guinness family, the family has been very good to the people of Dublin. In his life Mr. Guinness donated his time and money to many hospitals,schools, and to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This rebuild of a major Cathedral was a major undertaking, and with it he attempted to preserve the culture of the Irish people.
The site of St.Patrick’s is significant because according to legend this is where St.Patrick preformed some of his miracles, and where he would baptize people into the faith. The site for this reason has had a church of some kind on it since the 9th century. It is a culturally significant site for the christian population of Ireland.
Henry the VIII did not like any of the old catholic churches. He burned many down, that is why when you visit Glastonbury in the U.K you are actually visiting a ruin, Henry did convert the site of St.Patrick’s into an Anglican church. It is to this day still a Anglican church, which means only 3% of the population of Dublin is actually the same religion as this church. Ireland , and Dublin especially is a majority Catholic country.
The church itself is built in a Gothic design. The interior is giant with huge stained glass windows on every wall. The exterior has the flying buttresses that you see in these churches commonly, and is styled in a Gothic style.
St.Patrick’s is full of monuments and symbols of Irish culture. The church has a memorial or monument everywhere you look. The stained glass shows Irish saints such as St.Brigit. It is truly a cathedral to the culture of the Irish people.
It is being a cathedral to culture is what has kept St.Patrick’s Cathedral open. The number of people who would actually worship there is rather low, so they needed to find a way to keep the large doors open. This is where tourism comes in. The cathedral is a major tourist draw. It is this tourism that allows St.Patrick’s to survive today. If it weren’t for all the people who visit it every year the church could not survive where it is.
If you are In Dublin this is an interesting place to visit. It is a major tourist spot, making it really be on a well worn trail; But the amount you can learn by walking around and taking a tour is truly impressive. This is far more of a cultural and historical site than a religious one. My best advice is to get there early before it gets too crowded on a weekday, and to take a guided tour of some kind there so you can get the full history of what you see.
As always hope you enjoyed reading,
Go With The Winds.
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