November 17, 2008

Dublin, Ireland: St. Patrick's Cathedral

On our third day in Dublin, we began on the west side of the city and visited a couple of cathedrals. The first was St. Patrick's Cathedral.

The church has a green space right beside it that contains a Dublin Millennium Literary Parade memorial. A few of the writers included are Swift, Wilde, Shaw, Joyce and Beckett.

Inside the church is very Gothic in architecture. The arches are very high and breathtaking. The church is said to stand on the spot where Saint Patrick first baptized converts. The location of the well he used is covered by a small stone monument.

I really enjoyed this cathedral, mostly because of the arches and how very old everything appears. It looks as if it has been there forever. Also, it is not so frilly like many cathedrals; instead it seems more purposeful in its decorations. I realize that this is just my perception, but it caused me to enjoy seeing it all the same.

One of the best parts of the building was the floor:

The tiles are very intricate and cover the entire space. The photo above is only one small square.

I don't know if you noticed in that second photo, but the seating in the cathedral is not pews, but small wooden chairs.

They are quite small and each has a needlework seat cushion on the back. Some cushions have realistic pictures, like that one of a sailboat. Others have geometric or celtic designs, and some have scriptures on them. Regardless of their decoration, I suspect that they do little to ease one's backside while seated.

Impressive to me was the handwritten score for Handel's Messiah. The choirs of St. Patrick's and Christchurch Cathedrals combined to give the first performance of Messiah in 1742. Amazing.

This shot is very medieval looking, don't you think? There were flags, old, old flags, hanging in the choir section of the cathedral. Although these are easily seen, there were some that were so very old that the colors were completely obscured.

Here is yet another example of the fantastic floor. I've seen tiles, people; I lived in Spain for two years. I've seen intricate and colorful and all of that in my travels. These floor tiles in the cathedrals in Dublin were unlike anything I had seen to date. I happened to enjoy them very much...and I have the [read: too many] photos to prove it.

Tomorrow we'll look further at medieval times with a visit to Dublinia.

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