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St. Patrick's C.o.I. Cathedral


St. Patricks Cathedral

Vertical Dial


A 600mm square, vertical south, sandstone dial 5 metres up on a buttress of the south transcept of St. Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh City. Badly eroded it shows the time from 6a.m.to 6p.m. in Roman numerals with a maltese cross for twelve noon. It has a bronze gnomon with a 'shamrock' perforation. The date "1706" at the top has what appears to be an "E" and a "B" on either side of it.
The dial was reputedly restored c.1931.

The history of the Cathedral is one long record of burnings and plunderings. In the year 832 the Vikings sacked it. Partially burned by a fire caused by lightning in 995, the Cathedral lay for the most part unroofed for some 130 years. After further burnings it was rebuilt in 1261 and again in 1365. Once again, fire destroyed the Cathedral and it was restored again in 1428. During the Reformation, St. Patricks Crozier and other relics from the Cathedral were publicly burnt in the High Street, Dublin. Of the surviving relics, St. Patrick's Bell is in the Royal Irish Academy, and the Book of Armagh is in the library of Trinity College, Dublin.

In the late 16th century the Cathedral suffered several more burnings in the war between Elizabeth and the O'Neills of Ulster. Restored again in 1613 it was to be destroyed once more in 1641. Further restorations were made in 1729 and again in 1765. In 1802 further works were carried out which tended more than any of the previous ones to alter the fabric of the building. The Cathedral as it stands today is the result of its restoration by the English architect, L.N. Cottingham between 1834 and 1837.

In the graveyard outside the Cathedral under a massive granite boulder are the remains of the three premier Irish saints, Patrick, Brigid and Columba. Buried for 500 years in different locations they were re-interred together by the Norman John de Courcy about 1180A.D. in thanksgiving to the saints for keeping Chrstianity alive during the Dark Ages. The body of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland, who was killed fighting the Vikings at the Battle of Clontarf, in 1014, also lies in the vicinity.


British Sundial Society SR No 5863

Lat 54° 21' North    Long 6° 39' West

Irish Grid    H  287400   345200


If you know the location of a sundial in Ireland (NOT a mass produced DIY Store garden ornament) please email it to me (Click here to email M.J.Harley) - a member of British Sundial Society
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