This is the oldest Christian site in Dublin, since St. Patrick is said to have baptised converts here. There has been a church here since 450 A.D. Saint Patrick's is situated at a junction of 6 ancient highways, and (although just 10 minutes walk away from Christ Church Cathedral) was, being outside the city walls, the cathedral of the people.
The present building was built in 1191, and was restored in 1864 by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness. It's Protestant, built by the first Anglo-Norman bishop John Comyn. The West Tower dates from 1370 and houses the largest ringing peal of bells, and the most powerful organ in Ireland.
St. Patrick's is just packed with historical significance. Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver's Travels) was Dean of St. Patrick's (1713 - 1745) and is buried here. The Choir School was founded in 1432 and took part in the first performance of Handel's Messiah 3 centuries later in 1742.
The medieval Chapter House door (1492) has a hole in it, made during the feud between the Butlers of Ormonde and the Fitzgeralds of Kildare: the Earl of Kildare sought refuge here, and the Earl of Ormonde cut the hole in the door, to shake hands and make peace with him; this gave rise to the phrase 'chancing your arm'. There are several monuments and memorials in and around the Church, to famous Irish people down through the centuries.
While in this area, you should visit Christ Church Cathedral and Dublin Castle,
within 10 minutes walk. Next to Christ Church is Dvblinia, the
medieval heritage centre, or the Viking Adventure, an interactive
experience of Viking Dublin (see our Popuar
Attractions page). Or you could walk south from St. Patrick's
and visit Marsh's Library, the first
public library in Ireland.