St Patrick’s Cathedral, Wood Quay, Dublin City  1191

St Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland and is also reputed to be its earliest Christian site. Unusually, Dublin has two cathedrals belonging to the Church of Ireland, which act effectively as co-Cathedrals. A church had stood on this site from the 5th century until 1191 when it was raised to the status of Cathedral. There are many interesting features inside the Cathedral including a door on the south transept with a hole in it. This was where James, Earl of Ormond and Gerald, Earl of Kildare, shook hands in 1491 after years of distrust and treachery. This is where the term ‘chancing your arm’ comes from. In 1432 a Choir School was established of which many of its members took part in the very first performance of Handel’s Messiah in 1742. Oliver Cromwell stabled his horses in the nave of the cathedral around 1650. The writer and satirist Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels), was Dean of the Cathedral from 1713 to 1745 and you can still see his grave and epitaph inside. Much of the neo-Gothic building you see today dates from a major refurbishment carried out by Sir Benjamin Guinness from 1864.