Before entering to St.Marys cathedral I took a look around its graveyard.
It was kind of experience to me as I'm coming from Estonia and we have much more
different graveyards in there. In this graveyard, there were short descriptions of buried
people on the gravemonument which gives you glimps back in time and understanding how
much they were loved by families.
It was very interesting.
St Mary's Cathedral was built in 1168 on the site of a palace given to Limerick by the King of Munster. The palace was built on the Viking Meeting House that used to be the seat of power for the Vikings. Well worth a visit and usually a docent is available to walk you around and explain many of the artifacts both in and out of the church.
We were able to visist the church for their Choral Evensong and I was very impressed. They hold this event every month on the 3rd Sunday at 7:00PM.
The bells are quite famous and the center piece of Limerick's New Year's celebration. If someone says they went to the bells, it means they came down to listen to the Bell's of St Mary's (no relation to the Bing Crosby movie) ring in the New Year.
It is a sacred pile – hoary with age!
Approach we its high courts with reverent tread;
Let meaner thoughts no visiter engage,
As we survey the records of the dead.
This is one of the oldest and best preserved cathedrals in Ireland. It is open to the public for both sightseeing and services, it is a Church of Ireland.
Background: Built on a site of ancient importance: Norse settlement, palace of Kings of Munster, site of the Thingmount. Donal Mór O’Brien, king of Munster, 5th descendant of Brian Boru bequeathed the land & began construction in 1192?
- Plan: Originally a Latin cross
- Architecture: Primarily Gothic but organic, changed over time rather than subject to an overall design.
- Primary Influence: Cistercian emphasis on severity and simplicity.
- Romanesque and Transitional: West doorway, windows of the clearstory and round windows of side ailse, and fragments of moulding on some capitols of the nave pillars.
- Gothic: Four bluntly pointed arches in the nave, Switchline tracery of windows. Imposing, intended to bring humility and awe.
Interesting Facts ‘They Say’:
- During the many sieges of Limerick, the defenders of the City used the stones around the W. door to sharpen their swords, you can see the marks.
- The stone coffin lid of Donal Mór O’Brien is the oldest monument.
- The choir screen was erected back to front in absence of the designer.
- Legend: the Roman Catholics of Limerick concealed the bells by letting them down into the river during a siege, and when peace was restored they searched in vain for them. It is said that a silvery chime greets the faithful.
- The misericords, Thomond tomb, Fox Memorial, and Sculpture in St. James Chapel are all fine examples of Irish art.
- North transcept, chapel of the Holy Spirit, 1360 – the leper’s squint, an opening allowing lepers to hear mass and receive communion.
(the information on this page came from various sources, if you would like direct citations please contact me)
St.Mary's is a beautiful cathedral on King's Island in Limerick. It was built sometime near the end of the 12th century and was gradually added to over the centuries. Like many cathedrals and abbeys in Ireland, there's a graveyard that surrounds the cathedral.
This is St.Mary's Cathedral, the oldest building in Limerick in constant use, dating from the 12th century seen from the ramparts of King John's Castle..