The St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin is the National Cathedral of the Anglican Church in Ireland and the country's largest church. It was built next to the well where it is said Saint Patrick, the Irish patron Saint, baptized his first Christian converts around 450 AD. In 1191 a church was built on the site, which was replaced by the present Cathedral in 1220.
The building suffered considerable damage over the years and underwent substantial renovations in the 1860s, financed by Sir Benjamin Guinness of the famous brewery. Unfortunately the alterations made to the building during these works weren't documented, making it difficult to tell which of the features of the building are original and which were added during the Victorian age.
The most interesting features on the outside of the church are the gargoyles and faces in the stonework. Once inside you will find beautiful stained glass windows and several exhibitions, memorials, and tombs. Jonathan Swift, author of "Gulliver's Travels" was Dean of the cathedral from 1713 to 1745 and his grave and an exhibition that includes his death mask and the pulpit from which he supposedly preached can be found in the south aisle of the building.
St. Patrick's Cathedral was the location of the first performance of Händel's "Messiah" in 1742, sung by the St. Patrick's Choir School together with the Christ Church Cathedral's choir. The choir still sings two services daily in the church during school terms and you might manage to catch the practice before morning mass on Sundays.
The gardens surrounding the church are beautiful and offer welcome rest from the busy city streets among colorful flowers and well tended lawns.
St. Patrick's is foremost a place of worship, while entry to Sunday services is free sightseeing is not permitted during that time. Otherwise there are charges for sightseeing which go towards conserving the building as the cathedral receives no direct funding from government.
Unlike in many other churches you are allowed to take pictures inside the church, so this is an excellent destination for hobby photographers.
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