St Patrick's Cathedral, Exterior
Photographer: Mares, Frederick H
Medium: Photographic print
"The venerable St. Patrick erected a place of worship near a well in which he baptized his converts. It is gathered from history that, about the year A.D. 448, he converted Alphin MacEochy, King of Dublin, and many of his subjects, to the Christian faith, and that the scene of their conversion was a well situated near the north transept of this Cathedral; which well still exists, though covered with soil. That a church was built here at a remote period is proved by records, which state that in 1190 Archbishop Comyn erected the prestent structure on the site of a more ancient edifice.
It is a pure cruciform, with a low tower, surmounted by a granite spire, rising from the north-west angle, and is a good example of the pointed style. It was much added to and decorated by Archbishop Minot, who held the see of Dublin in 1370.
The architectural details of St. Patrick's generally point to the close of the twelfth century; and were all records of its history lost, the occurrence of a peculiar device - viz., a half-moon and star, enclosed within a triangle - would indicate the date of the church. The history of St. Patrick's partakes largely of that of the country: it has witnessed the fierce conflicts of rival factions as they met within its walls, and served successively as a court of law, a stable for the horses of the Protector, and a barrack for the soldiers of King James. No building could stand the 'wear and tear' which such a succession of events should necessarily bring upon it, and accordingly, long before Swift's time, the church was almost a ruin...Some spasmodic attempts at its restoration were made, but until the time of the late Dean Dewson little was done to arrest the gradual but sure decay which threatened the very existence of the building. The late Dean Pakenham, with a noble spirit, spent some thousands in the restoration of the 'Lady Chapel' and Choir, but for want of funds was obliged to desist.
Since 1860 the Cathedral has been entirely restored, by the princely munificence of Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, Bart., at a cost of £160,000."
Descriptive letterpress from the book 'Photographs of Dublin' by F H Mares