St Columbs Cathedral

St Columbs Cathedral

Widely recognised as the oldest surviving building in the city, St Columbs Cathedral is also reported to be one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, clocking up approximately 80,000 visitors a year according to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

The first Cathedral built by the Anglican Church after the Reformation period, and the first non-Catholic cathedral built in Europe, St Columbs makes up one of the most historically-valuable structure in Derry, having witnessed much of the tragedy and joy the city has seen since its inception.

Completed in 1633 by William Parrot, in Planter’s Gothic, the Cathedral is built entirely of stone from local quarries and remained practically unchanged for 150 years until the addition of a beautiful spire, which was slowly completed following signs of structural weakness.

In addition to the Cathedral’s own history, it was built on what ancient maps show as the site of another medieval church dating back to the 1600s and also claims to be built on or near the site of the original Teampall Mór – a part of which is embedded into St. Columbs as a foundation stone.

St Columbs forms an integral part of community relations, taking a leading role in the city’s Two Cathedrals Festival and other civic occasion, while the artefacts lovingly contained within speak of the shared history. Relics include the original keys to the city and portraits of William of Orange as well as Ireland’s oldest collection of bells, presented by King Charles I in 1683.

Special mention should be made of the Siege Heroes’ Mound, where the remains of Siege combatants were ignominuously thrown having been removed from their resting places during restorations. The furious Apprentice Boys demanded the bones be replaced, and the excess dirt was used to create a mound, where an inscribed monument was later added.

St Columbs Cathedral

St Columbs Cathedral

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