1832 – St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh

Architects: Lewis Cottingham / Thomas Drew



The present Anglican cathedral in the city is mostly a 19th century restoration of the 13th century shell and is sited on a hill in the centre of the city. The exterior of the church with its red sandstone walls is quite grim and foreboding. Even though it dominates the city, it is also suprisingly small when approached closeup. Brian Boru who drove the Norsemen out of Ireland in 1014 is buried in the churchyard. A plaque near the spot is mounted in the exterior wall of the transept.

In 1834, the Archbishop, Lord John Beresford commissioned the architect Lewis Cottingham to rebuild the cathedral. Much of the medieval fabric was replaced with unconvincing Gothic revival. Thackeray claimed that it had less religious feeling than the average drawing room. So in 1903 Thomas Drew was commissioned to re-examine the interior. The result is a confused interior with some of the best parts of Cottingham’s design relegated to small side chapels and the transepts. The interior of the church is dark and unremarkable save for its large collection of memorials to dead archbishops and other local worthies. The north transept has been closed off to form a chapter house.