On our first, last, and only day in Dublin, we had a guided tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Now, St. Patrick looms large in Irish history and mythology, and it can be tough to distinguish the one from the other, sometimes.

Sign announcing reputed site of St. Patrick's wellI have to admire the sign’s modesty. After all, there’s no over-the-top claim that this is the exact spot. No “Here, right here” tone to it at all.

That well is around here somewhere.

But having heard from one historian that buddy likely worked mostly in the north of Ireland, I was still a little skeptical. I’m thinking a full-disclosure sign might read like this:

In the 5th century AD,
St. Patrick might have baptised people
at a well in this general region.
If there was such a well,
and if St. Patrick used it,
then it might have been in this general area.
Not exactly here, you understand, but near here.

I believe there’s a good reason I have not been put in charge of historical plaques in any country.

But whether St. Patrick was ever here or not, one thing is for sure: The cathedral named in his honour has an extraordinary interior: One that had me wishing for my tripod and for no people. I have seen a fair amount of Gothic churches/architecture this summer, and this is the most impressive by far.

6-photo collage of interior of St. Patrick's cathedral


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6 Responses to Reputedness

  1. Barry says:

    “I believe there’s a good reason I have not been put in charge of historical plaques in any country.”

    Is it because casting words cost money?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barry – Maybe. πŸ™‚ And also because placers of signs seem to want to tell a more clear-cut story.

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    Two queries.
    1. Is St. Patrick’s the church where there’s a hole in a door about six inches thick, and solid wood, so that two warring chieftains could shake hands on a peace treaty without taking the risk of having that right hand lopped off by a sword in the hand of the other side’s warriors?
    2. Re your comment about St. Patrick’s being the “most impressive so far,” might it be possible to put together a slide show of your cathedrals, with an option for people to vote on which one they thought was most impressive? I suspect that we don’t all work with the same standards of impressive. Maybe some of your readers could add their own favourite slides of “impressive”.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – There’s a wooden door hanging in the cathedral, but it’s not 6 inches thick. The story we got was that one chieftain took a chance and ordered a hole to be cut in the door and then put his unarmed hand through, and the defender clasped it instead of cutting it off, thus ending a feud. Google supports that version, here. Apparently, this is the source of the Irish expression “chancing your arm.” As for the cathedral slide show, I’ll see what I can do. πŸ™‚

  3. Alison Uhrbach says:

    Enjoyed all of this weeks photos, but just don’t really have any comments to add. Didn’t want you to think I wasn’t reading and enjoying it though!

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