An eclectic mix of architectural styles, St Patrick & the cardinal’s hats

The Catholic Cathedral of St Patrick’s is located in Armagh City. This was a former site near where St Patrick himself was reputed to have built a church in 445 a.d inside a ringfort on a hill called ‘Druimsailech’. He called it ‘My Sweet Hill’ and ordained that this church should have pre-eminence over all other churches in Ireland. Armagh, therefore, became the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland. It has 2 cathedrals, one Catholic and the other Protestant, facing each other across the town. It also has two archbishops who are each entitled to call themselves ‘Primate of all Ireland’. It was begun in 1838 but was not finished until 1873 due to a pause in construction due to the Great Famine. It’s enormous twin spires stand at 210 feet and are Armagh’s most recognizable landmark. The building is a curious mix of architectural styles as it changes halfway up the walls. The bottom half was designed in 1838, in the English Perpendicular Gothic style and the top half was designed in 1853, in the French Decorated Gothic style. To complicate things further, the interior has a  Byzantine style with every piece of wall and ceiling covered in brilliantly colored mosaics. A unique feature of the Cathedral is the Cardinal’s Hats which hang in the sanctuary. On the death of a Cardinal, his hat would be left to decay here – symbolizing the end of all earthly glory. This practice is no longer followed!