St. Patrick’s Cathedral has a certain historical and religious significance to the people of Ireland and for many people of Irish descent. Upon walking into the cathedral, the first things you notice are the beautiful stain glass windows, as well as the monuments and statues lining the walls. The artifacts of the church are moving and tell a lot about the history of Ireland.
One of these monuments is to a man who was a dean of the church, but more famously known for his writings – Jonathan Swift. Everyone knows him as the man who wrote Gulliver’s Travels, but visiting the St. Patrick’s Cathedral told me more about Swift’s political, social, and religious importance in Irish culture. He spent much of his time in England trying to free the Irish people of unfair tax laws and burdens placed on Irish social life. His sermons were very influential and his writings are still cherished today.
Further along the church are the monuments to the soldiers who fought in wars, particularly for the British Crown, like those in China and Burma. Many Irish generals are recognized for their work, showing how integrated Irish life was with the British life. It is often forgotten that major events throughout history involving the United Kingdom also involved, or directly affected, the Irish people.
Finally, in my visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I came across my favorite artifact – the Door of Reconciliation. In a dispute between two prominent Irish families in the 15th century, the wooden door at the church separated the two sides. Those on the outside of the church cut a hole in the door, sticking their arms through to shake hands and end the dispute. Irish history, in the midst of many disputes, has this story to hold on to and reflect upon in the great and prominent St. Patrick’s Cathedral.