LivingTravelSt. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral has been a part of the fabric of Dublin city life for over 800 years and this long history has included many twists and turns as the church evolved from a small parish to the National Cathedral of Ireland. Today, it is one of the best examples of medieval architecture that is still preserved in the Irish capital.

The cathedral should be a stop on any trip to Dublin, both for its historical significance and for its ongoing cultural contributions to Dublin life, including the daily choir concerts.

Ready to plan your visit? Here’s the complete guide to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.


St. Patrick’s Cathedral was founded on the site where St. Patrick is believed to have baptized the first Irish believers into the Christian faith. The holy well that St. Patrick used has been lost, but the Cathedral was built in the area where the conversions are believed to have taken place.

The first church was built here in the 5th century, but the current St. Patrick’s was built between 1191 and 1270. In 1311, the Dublin Medieval College was founded here and the church started as a place of higher education and a place. Of praise.

By the 16th century, however, San Patricio fell into disuse after the Reformation English – when the Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church. In 1537, Saint Patrick was designated the Anglican Church of Ireland and remains part of the Church of Ireland to this day.

Repairs began in the 1660s and continued in phases over the next several decades to prevent the cathedral from falling into complete ruin.

As its status grew, it began to rival Christ Church Cathedral in importance. This is where the history of St. Patrick’s Cathedral takes a slightly complicated turn in terms of church definitions. The current cathedral building is often hailed as one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in Dublin, however it is fair to point out that the structure underwent massive reconstruction in the 1860s, financed primarily with money from the Guinness family. .

As one of the two cathedrals of the Church of Ireland in Dublin, Saint Patrick is designated as the ‘National Cathedral of Ireland’. However, St. Patrick’s Cathedral lacks the one thing that generally makes a church a cathedral: a bishop. The Archbishop of Dublin actually has his seat at Christ Church Cathedral, which is the official cathedral of Dublin. Saint Patrick is headed by a dean.

The cathedral is now used in some Irish state events, including the annual Remembrance Day ceremonies.

What to see

Saint Patrick is the largest (and tallest) cathedral in Ireland and there is a lot to see when you visit the church. The best known to see inside the cathedral is the grave of Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels. The famous writer was once dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and is buried inside with his beloved Stella (Ester Johnson).

During the school year, there are daily concerts at the Cathedral that you can schedule to be part of your visit. It’s always best to check the event calendar online, but the Sung Martins generally take place at 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, with an evening choral concert taking place Monday through Friday at 5:30 p.m.

There are also several smaller points of interest scattered throughout the cathedral, including hundreds of commemorative plaques, busts, and monuments. The most impressive belongs to the Boyle Family Tomb from the 17th century. The smaller mementos are dedicated to Turlough O’Carolan (the famous blind harpist) and Douglas Hyde (the first President of Ireland).

Make sure you don’t miss another unusual monument: a door with a hole in it, which is where Lord Kildare literally risked his arm to shake hands with his enemy Lord Ormonde. Fun fact: this is where we get the saying “risk your arm.”

If you wander outside, the well where St. Patrick is believed to have performed baptisms has been lost, but there is a stone commemorating the holy site in the cathedral garden.

how to visit

St. Patrick is one of Dublin’s top landmarks and sits on the edge of the city center. It can feel a bit off the beaten path as it is in an older residential area, but it is fairly easy to get to by public transport, on foot (from Temple Bar), or as part of an organized tour. The closest bus stop is Patrick’s Street, which is on bus routes 150, 151, 49 and 77.

The beautiful church has a ticketing system, and you can buy tickets when you arrive or online in advance (with the online tickets saving you about € 0.50 on an adult ticket). Regular adult tickets cost € 8 each and tours are available at no additional cost at various times during the day.

There are extended hours during the summer, but they are subject to change depending on the season and holidays. The best place to find out about current opening hours, admission prices, and special events is the St. Patrick’s Cathedral website. The church website also lists service times for each day of the week, in case you want to worship there. The ticket price applies to occasional visitors who wish to sightsee, but it is free to worship inside the cathedral.

What else to do nearby

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is located near Christ Church Cathedral, the church that serves as Dublin’s official Cathedral.

Saint Patrick’s is not far from Temple Bar, and you can walk to the bustling area if you have time. Temple Bar can be an entertaining place for lunch, shopping for artistic souvenirs, or an evening of live music after the quieter choir concerts in the cathedral.

St. Stephen’s Green is also only about a 10 minute walk away and offers a peaceful green retreat in the center of Dublin. Just beyond the park, you’ll find the National Museums that cover everything from art to archeology.

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