St Patrick Church of Ireland Cathedral
St Patrick himself built the original church on this site in Armagh, in 445AD. It is on top of the hill after which Armagh is named (Ard Macha means ' the hill of Macha', Macha being a pagan tibal princess).
Patrick was a British slave in Ireland, who escaped but following a vision, he later returned to found his church. He eventually became a bishop and said that the church should be the premier church in Ireland. It has been rebuilt 17 times since then, but there has always been a church on the site. Many of the walls were recycled, and there are stone carvings inside the cathedral dating from 500-1000BC.
The current building underwent great restoration in the 1830s, and redesigned by Lewis Nockalls Cottingham. He removed an old wooden spire, which is visible on the Cathedral's seal.
A previous Archbishop had blocked up the clerestory windows, so these were opened up again and restyled in the fashionable Gothic manner. Although much of the interior was redesigned, from the outside the Cathedral remained and still remains, the basic shape it was in the 1100s.
Notable burials at the Cathedral include the 11th century Irish King Boru, and St Ethnea who was baptised by Saint Patrick.
Armagh is also the location of the Roman Catholic Cathedral, also called St Patrick's. It is located across the valley on another hill. There is a spirit of unity between the Cathedrals, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop has preached in the Church of Ireland Cathedral during a St Patrick's Day service.
St Patrick's Cathedral is a fully functioning Cathedral, so at certain times visits will be restricted due to services and ceremonies. There is no entrance charge, but visitors are asked to make a donation towards the upkeep of the building. There is a gift shop and toilets on the site.
Located in the city of Armagh, St Patricks can be reached by car or using local transport services.
c/o Armagh Public Library,
43 Abbey Street,
Tel: 028 3752 3142