St. Patrick’s Cathedral , Dublin
On the site of a little church dedicated to St. Patrick , the Norman conquerors of Dublin built a new and massive church in 1191. Raised to the status of cathedral in 1213 , it has been extended and extensively repaired on several occasions. St. Patrick's Cathedral is a hidden gem and is worth a visit on your Ireland tours.
It is the largest church in Ireland , over 295 feet in length. A great tower , 147 feet high and out of line with the actual building , was added in the 14th century , and this was topped by a 100 foot granite spire 4 centuries later. From 1320 until the end of the 15th century the cathedral was the location for a University of Dublin , and with the Reformation it came into the possession of the Church of Ireland.
The most famous Dean of St. Patrick's was Jonathon Swift , clergyman , author , and fierce polemicist , who held that office from 1713 until his death in 1745. Readers and scholars all over the world have been fascinated by the writings of Swift , such as The Battle of the Books , The Drapier Letters , A Modest Proposal , and in particular Gulliver's Travels; but his keen satire and dramatic temperament also earned him great celebrity among poor and unlettered of his day.
He is a favorite figure in Irish folklore , in which he is represented as a witty eccentric who secretly sympathized with the cause of the oppressed people. Many humorous anecdotes tell of the cleverness of the Dean's apocryphal servant Jack , who continually outwits the indulgent but somewhat bemused master.
Swift is buried in the grounds of the cathedral , beside Esther Johnston , the lady whom he called 'Stella' and with whom he enjoyed a close platonic friendship.
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