Thursday, August 26, 2010

St Patrick's Cathedrals of Armagh

The Old St Patrick's Cathedral.

The New St Patrick's Cathedral.
That's right, Catherals, plural.  The older one, originally built in 400, started off Catholic and changed when Henry VIII wished to divorce his wives, so it is now Church of Ireland.  The newer one, only 140 years old, is Catholic.  Both are beautiful buildings.

The older cathedral is the last resting place of Brian Boru, the first king of all Ireland.  Along one wall sit several iron age stone statues.  One is King Labhraidh Loingseach, who had ears like a donkey.  Another is Nuadha Lamhairgil, who successfully invaded Ireland, but had his arm cut off in the process.  The original inhabitants, not liking the new rulers, retreated to the Aran Islands   Oh, and Nuadha had himself a new arm made out of silver.  It's good to be king.

Labhraidh Loingseach showing off his donkey ears.

Nuadha Lamhairgil holding his detached arm.

We thought this one looked like a bear, but there aren't any bears here now.

In the back of the cathedral is the military chapel with the banners of the troops on display.  Several were presented by Queen Victoria to her Irish Regiments.  There is also a small wooden cross that was brought back from the Battles of Somme in WW1.  The Irish troops suffered unusually heavy casualties, but were also known for their bravery.

Regimental Banners in the Military Chapel.

The cross from Somme Battles.
The newer cathedral doesn't have the historical artifacts.  It does have beautiful tile work on the floors and walls.  One item it has which we have never seen before in any of the many, many cathedrals we have visited over the years; an electric votive wall for prayers.  Instead of getting a candle for your 50p, you get to flip the switch on the votive light of your choice.  We wondered if they were on a timer.
Tile work in the Sanctuary.
The Electric Votive Wall!

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