Sunday, October 28, 2012

3. And Even More St. Patrick's: St. Patrick's Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral
After leaving St. Patrick's College, we took the bus to O'Connell St., one of the main thoroughfares of the city, then walked over to eat fish and chips at Leo Burdocks. For whom is O'Connell Street named? We then walked to St. Patrick's Cathedral though the Temple Bar area via beautiful Christ Church Cathedral. It is one of two Protestant cathedrals in Dublin, with the other being St. Patrick's. It is very unusual to have two cathedrals together because these were the seats of the bishops as Catholic Churches. However, in Dublin, Christ Church was inside the city walls and St. Patrick's was outside. I noticed that Christ Church looked very Norman in style and found out that it was begun in 1172 by Strongbow, a Norman baron, so that explains why. We didn't go inside but the photos of the cathedral are lovely.

Paige at Christ Church Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Walking down a steep hill, we arrived at St. Patrick's Cathedral. St. Patrick is, of course, closely tied to Ireland. While lots of stories have been written about him, many which may be legends, he was an actual person and was responsible for introducing Christianity into Ireland in the 400s. Supposedly, he was baptized from a well near the present day cathedral and there is a carved stone well cover in the cathedral that is reputed to have been the cover for that well. St. Patrick's Day actually commemorates the day of his death. Can you think of a story that is associated with St. Patrick?

The original cathedral was begun in 1192. I am always in awe when I think of the tools and technology with which these cathedrals were built and the time-sometimes centuries-that it took to build them. I love Ken Follett's book, Pillars of the Earth, which explains some of the processes. It was a cloudy, cold day when we visited, so the inside was pretty dark and cold. There are wooden chairs for the congregation with beautiful needlepoint kneelers. When it was built, the congregation would have mostly been standing. Of course, after Henry the Eighth's Act of Supremacy and Cromwell's subsequent actions, all Catholic cathedrals, churches and abbeys became Protestant and were often desecrated. Many of the decorations that were once in St. Patrick's are missing or vandalized, and Cromwell actually stabled horses inside the cathedral. The cathedral was restored primarily due to the Guiness family, who have been great benefactors in Dublin and throughout Ireland.  There are beautiful windows, statues, and memorials. One memorial is to the family of Robert Boyle. For what is he remembered?

One interesting thing to see is the tomb of Jonathan Swift who was Dean of the cathedral in the 1700s and a great friend to the Irish people. Swift was born in Ireland to English parents and was educated at Trinity College, but as a Protestant, might have been expected to be more sympathetic to the view of the ruling country. He was not. His Gulliver's Travels was written as a satire on British government and society.  I used to assign my students portions of Swift's  Modest Proposal to read. In it, he proposes a solution to Ireland's overpopulation and hunger problem by selling Irish babies to serve as food and goes through very logical reasoning as to why this would be an excellent solution.

I'd like to add to Dr. Santoli's fascinating background information. I feel the history of people is  important to preserve and fascinating to discover (at a personal as well as civilization level). It is often only through the surviving artifacts, such as the visual arts, architecture, and literature, that events are documented and we learn about past generations. It is also important to remember the layers of filters the information passes through over time, including the perceptions of the creators and the interpretations of the viewers. ~Dr.V

With that in mind, my question is: Have there been any "artifacts" in your life which have revealed information about the past? What were your perceptions?

South Paw at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland


Erika said...

I loved being able to tour St. Patrick's Cathedral when I visited Ireland. I think one of the most incredible parts is the tile floors. Each tile was designed differently and it is just absolutely beautiful. I also loved just being able to sit and observe the surroundings. South Paw looks like he's enjoying it too!!

Rachael Gordon said...

I am a student in Dr. Strange's edm310 class. I enjoyed reading your post and seeing your photos. Ireland is on my bucket list of places that I would love to visit someday. I am also amazed when I think of what it must have been like to construct these cathedrals. I just finished studying ancient architecture in another class and it was fascinating to learn about all the work that went into creating these amazing structures.

Now, to answer your question. Daniel O'Connell was known as "The Liberator". He was the first Catholic to be elected mayor of Dublin in 1831.
One famous story that is associated with St. Patrick is, people believed he was responsible for driving out all of the snakes from Ireland. Of course, this story is only a myth. The truth is, Ireland did not have snakes to begin with. It is thought that the story was meant to be symbolic and has been exaggerated over many years.
Robert Boyle is considered the most influential Irish scientist in history. He is best known for "Boyle's Law", which says, the pressure of gas varies with its volume.

Thank you both for sharing these amazing photos from your trip. I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Ireland and wish you a safe trip home.

Tyler Davis said...

That was absolutely amazing, and just seeing those pictures definitely wants makes me want to visit Ireland. I have always wanted to visit, but reviewing this blog has solidified my want/need to go there! It was really great that you mentioned St. Patrick and Oliver Cromwell because I have taken a couple English history classes and have learned a lot about them. It was great to hear more about them because they are very interesting people.

Susan Santoli said...

Great answers, Rachael. O'Connell was also the first Catholic to be elected to Parliament. He was one of many courageous people who fought for Irish independence.

Snakes are sometimes used as a satanic symbol.


Haleigh Respess said...

Dr. Vitulli and Dr. Santoli,
It looks like you are both really enjoying your trip to Ireland. South Paw seems to be enjoying it as well. I would love to visit Ireland some day. Mainly because of how much they talked about Ireland in the movie P.S. I Love You, which is a really silly reason to want to visit. The pictures in this post are absolutely beautiful! Be safe traveling!

Susan Santoli said...

Southpaw had a fabulous trip. I believe we need to do a post on the adventures of Southpaw!

Kenny Nelson said...

I am glad I read Erika's post first or wouldn't have thought to look at the cathedral tile. I see the differences in the tile looking in closer. There are so many things to look at I feel like I am there. I can agree that just imagining how long ago some of the structures were built and the time spent making it look as amazing as it does. It was unfortunate that some of the things got ruined, but I guess that is part of history. Once again I feel a wealth of knowledge seeing some of this stuff. I was the kid that opened the book just to look at the pictures. (LOL) I love it.

Lana Brooks said...

I can't believe I never learned the history behind St. Patrick's day. Or at least, I don't remember learning it. The cathedral is so beautiful though. I visited quite a few cathedrals in Germany over the summer. They were all so elaborate and exquisite. I absolutely love the stained glass.

And I've had assignments on Swift's Modest Proposal for a couple of classes during my college career. It was probably one of my favorite short reads, too. One day I hope to tackle Swift's novel, "Gulliver's Travels." I admire authors that use satire in their work.

Meghan Brewer said...

I am also in Dr Strange's Edm 310 class.
I loved all of the photos! I am so jealous of you guys. Ireland is on my list of places to visit and absolutely cannot wait until I get to see these things for myself.
I would love to see Jonathan Swifts tomb. I have always enjoyed reading excerpts from A Modest Proposal because I enjoy satire and it is so clever!
I admit I don't know much about the history of St Patrick's Day which is sad because my family is Irish. Which answers your final question about artifacts. A few years ago I found an Irish family crest of my family's name, Brewer, in an antiques store. It was in great condition and even had a small card explaining the history of the Brewer lineage in Ireland. I was so thrilled to find it and I couldn't wait to show it to my grandfather!

Have fun exploring beautiful Ireland!
Meghan Brewer

Paige Vitulli said...

Yes, South Paw loved Ireland and learned so much. I found St. Patrick's Cathedral to be one of my favorite destinations and as I reflect on the images, some of my favorite photos are from this destination as well.
(I must admit I watched "P.S. I Love You" twice prior to this trip.)

Catherine Warren said...

To answer the question about artifacts, for my family it is quilts. Some are bright while others are faded. Some are handmade while others have evidence of a sewing machine. I know who made them as well as when and why but I would not know unless my family told me.