Sunday, October 27, 2013

St. Canice Cathedral, Kilkenny, Ireland

St. Canice Cathedral is located on the grounds of a sixth century monastery. St. Canice was a great monastery founder and built one at this location. The town sprung up around it and the town's name reflects that--Kil Cainneach is "Church of Canice" in Gaelic. All that remains of the old monastery is the 102-foot round tower built by King O'Carroll in 847.

St. Canice Cathedral, Kilkenny

The current church was built in the 13th century out of local stone. Many members of the local ruling family, the Butlers, are buried inside the cathedral.

Possibly the tomb of Dame E. Butler, wearing an Irish cloak

Husband, wife, and dog

A pleasant-looking dog, possibly denoting a pleasant master

A vicious-looking dog with not such a nice owner

Some 12th century effigies?

At the back of the church is the West Door, which is only opened for the bishop and for brides (at least according to our tour guide). The church is the second largest medieval church in Ireland (behind St. Patrick's in Dublin), so brides have a long walk to the main altar.


Main altar

In addition to the east window (dating from the 1200s), many other fine examples of stained glass from various periods can be found throughout the cathedral.

Lives of Saints (click to enlarge)

Two different styles right next to each other!

A side altar with smaller windows

Other fine works of art in the cathedral include a beautiful lectern, a statue weeping near the tombs, and the vaulted ceiling.

Standard eagle lectern

Mournful statue?

Vaulted ceiling

In the north transept, dating from the 1200s is St. Ciaran's Chair in black marble. A stone under the seat dates back to the 400s and is thought to be from a bishop's throne. The chair is now the seat of the bishop for the cathedral.

St. Ciaran's Chair

Of course, the children's favorite part of the church is the model of Kilkenny as it was in Elizabethan times.

The old town

Since it was a rainy day we did not go up the tower, though the views over Kilkenny are supposed to be spectacular.

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