St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin

A history

John Crawford & Raymond Gillespie, editors

Hardback €49.50
Catalogue Price: €55.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-044-1
July 2009. 462pp; colour ills.

'St Patrick’s was associated in the public mind with English authority in Ireland; the roll-call of deans resonates with Anglo-Norman and English names. “To maintain St Patrick’s was to maintain civility. St Patrick’s was no less than the Pale at prayer.” (Gillespie). It also offered a place of worship for the refugee Huguenot congregation from 1666’, Siobhán Fitzpatrick, Irish Times.

‘Taken together the essays provide us with a fairly comprehensive history of this ancient ecclesiastical institution while highlighting particular aspects, such as music, and significant people connected with it', Books Ireland (September 2009).

‘The curious way in which St Patrick’s was first established is explained in a magisterial chapter by Howard Clarke and the shifting fortunes of the cathedral during the Reformation and Cromwellian periods are outlined in gripping detail by Raymond Gillespie … Among many highlights in the book is Kerry Houston’s witty account of the choral traditions, which somehow survived even in times of adversity. So popular was the singing in the early 19th century that crowds flocked to St Patrick’s to hear Sunday evensong or, as it came to be known, ‘Paddy’s opera’ … [this is] a major work of scholarship which has much to tell us about one of Dublin’s most venerable institutions and indeed about the city itself', Roger Stalley, Irish Arts Review (September–November 2009).

'Big sites attract big books. St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin - a history is one such tome. Edited by John Crawford and Raymond Gillespie, the book casts a scholarly eye on one of Dublin's two Anglican Cathedrals .... Following a comprehensive introduction to this volume by Raymond Refaussé, the various essays are organised in a chronological framework dealing with the medieval cathedral, the modern cathedral and the contemporary cathedral. History, architecture and music are the principal themes that run through the book .... The last essay in the book, by Robert MacCarthy, brings us up to the present day', Tom Condit, Archaeology Ireland (Autumn 2009).

‘This book charts the effects on the cathedral of events such as the Reformation in the 16th century, and chronicles the evolving architecture of the building and the liturgy and music performed in it. Colour and b&w photos, illustrations, and maps are included', Reference and Research Book News (November 2009).

‘There is a curious anomaly about the cathedrals in Dublin: there are two within a few hundred yards of each other, but neither of them is a Catholic seat or dignity – both belong to the Church of Ireland in a city whose majority population is Catholic, at least in theory … St Patrick’s has had the more tumultuous, adventurous and celebrated history, so it is surprising that a full-scale historical study of the institution has not been undertaken until now … the present comprehensive volume is welcome', Books Ireland (February 2010).

'The book consists of five chronological divisions beginning with the medieval cathedral and ending with the contemporary building. Written by nine authors, it highlights in detail the history of this unusual and long-neglected building … this volume cannot hope, as Raymond Refaussé states in a succinct and clearly written introduction, to cover every aspect of the building but it certainly makes a valiant attempt to deal with its history … Both the editors and the authors have provided significant primary sources and new analyses to justify this volume being seen as the successor to Monck Mason’s volume of some ninety years earlier. Both the general public and medievalist have long avoided this building – seeing it as a post-medieval structure and the editors and authors deserve to be congratulated for bringing attention to one of the major and neglected buildings of medieval Ireland and placing it alongside that of Christ Church Cathedral', Colum Hourihane, The Medieval Review (May 2010).

‘[Written by] an impressive range of distinguished professional historians … and, equally importantly, [contains] expert coverage of musical, liturgical and architectural developments … This is, and will remain for a considerable period of time, the standard academic account of the history of Dublin’s second cathedral’, Alan Ford, The Journal of the Ecclesiastical History (April 2010).

‘This large book tells the story of Ireland’s largest medieval cathedral. It is an impressive volume, a worthy successor to William Monck Mason’s monumental History of the antiquities of the church of St Patrick (1819), and a fine companion to Kenneth Milne’s sister volume on Christ Church Cathedral. The story of St Patrick’s Cathedral is told through three complementary strands: architectural, musical and a more conventional historical strand … John Crawford and Raymond Gillespie are to be congratulated on yet another major contribution to Irish historical studies', Henry A. Jefferies, I (Autumn 2010).

‘Dublin City is unusual in having two mediaeval cathedrals, although two cathedrals in one diocese are less unusual. The cathedrals, one regular, one secular, are situated very close together, with a long history of mutual co-operation and rivalry. With the publication of this volume, both now have worthy accounts of their history … it is made up of a series of essays covering the history of the cathedral from its beginnings to the twentieth century, providing a comprehensive account of its surviving records, its architectural development, its liturgical and musical tradition and its relationship with the city and state over eight centuries. It is also beautifully illustrated', Ronnie Wallace, Search: a Church of Ireland journal (Autumn 2010).

'Of Dublin’s two Church of Ireland cathedrals, St Patrick’s is the younger and perhaps less well known. This collection of essays is the first comprehensive modern study of the cathedral … the essays are generally o fa very high quality and this volume not only fills a gap in the study of St Patrick’s, but is an important contribution to the history of the Church of Ireland and the history of Dublin. Raymond Refaussé’s introduction provides a useful survey of St Patrick’s history, the records of the cathedral, both extant and lost, and existing publications … This volume succeeds first in providing a scholarly history of the cathedral, its personnel, building, music, worship and external relations from the twelfth century to the present day. Just as significant is the fact that it goes beyond St Patrick’s most obvious associations – with Dean Swift and the much-restored modern building – to focus on less well-known aspects of the medieval and early modern church', Michael Staunton, Studia Hibernica (2009–10).