Originally posted on Posterous, May 11, 2012
Supposedly, St. Patrick did his baptizing in a holy well on what is now the green next to the cathedral. True or not, there are several beautiful early medieval carved slabs on display here. A church has existed on the site since 1191, and St. Patrick's is now the Irish national cathedral—partly because Dublin is unusual in having TWO cathedrals. Don't know of any other city that does, either.
It's dimmer inside than Christchurch, and seems more lived-in, less conscious of everyday impedimenta left lying around the nave—piles of folding chairs, tables, things of that sort.
Besides the fact that I love old churches, I had a couple of other reasons for visiting St. Patrick's. First, there's a memorial here to the parents of chemist and physicist Robert Boyle. It's a bit gaudy, and several of the effigies seem to be missing their noses.....but Boyle himself is thought to be among those represented on the memorial. Boyle? Wikipedia describes him succinctly as "best known for Boyle's law, which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed system." He's regarded as the first modern chemist.
The other reason is Jonathan Swift. Author, wit, and the best satirist who ever wrote in English, Swift was dean of St. Patrick's and is buried here.
There are several early medieval tombs, but no crypt—a great pity. The building was restored in the 19th century, but seems to have become mostly a repository for memorials to those in the armed services—as well as Swift, of course. Somehow, it seems less vibrant than Christchurch, though that could be no more than my own misguided opinion.
It could also be that I'm crabby about having to go home. We've enjoyed everything about our stay in Dublin, from not HAVING to do anything to the excellent food and drink, to how nice the good folk of Ireland are.
Plane's boarding, but we'll be back one day.