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Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, County Armagh, Ulster, Ireland photo
Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, County Armagh, Ulster

Saint Patrick's Cathedral, which belongs to the Aglican Church of Ireland, stands on the hill from which the City of Armagh derives its name - Ard Macha; the hill of Macha, one of the most ancient christian sites in the British Isles, and less than half a mile away, on the adjoining hill, from St Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, Ireland photo
In the year 445, according to tradition, St Patrick built a stone church on a hill, then called Druimsailech [the ridge of sallows]. This was granted to him by the local chieftain, Daire. In 447 St Patrick ordained that Armagh should have pre-eminence over all the churches of Ireland, a position which it holds to this day. Little remains of the original building, except perhaps the bases of the tower piers, rebuilt in 1834. In 832 peace in Ireland was shattered by Viking invaders. The Cathedral was subjected to regular burnings and plunderings. In 1261 Primate O'Scanlan had to rebuild it, and this was the start of the building we now see.

In 1428 accidental fire damaged the Cathedral. Primate John Swayne restored it. In the sixteenth century the Cathedral suffered more burnings and damage. In 1729 the Dean and Chapter turned the south transept into the 'Bishop's Court' blocking up the arches between the Nave and the aisle.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, Ireland photo
During the 1950's, 1970's and 1980's extensive roof and interior restoration was undertaken, and the most recent restoration which included major work to many of the windows was completed in 2005.

SOURCE: Courtesy of Tourism Ireland and St. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh.



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