Perhaps the single most spectacular aspect of the city’s skyline, Galway Cathedral is hands down one of the most extraordinary buildings in town. A haven of worship, an emblematic landmark and a photographer’s dream, this iconic cathedral has a rich history just waiting to be brought to light.
Officially known as The Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas, the site of the cathedral on the banks of the River Corrib was originally the grounds of the old city jail - believe it or not! With construction beginning in 1958, it wasn’t until 1965 that work was completed and this breathtaking building became the youngest great stone cathedral in Europe. Consecrated on 15 August that same year, this sacred space is jointly dedicated to Our Lady Assumed to Heaven and Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors and merchants.
Photo by Gabriel Ramos on Unsplash
Envisioned by Bishop Michael Browne and designed by JJ Robinson, eight years were spent perfecting every aspect of this building and it is a triumph to behold. Created in the hopes of being ‘solid, dignified and worthy of Galway’, the stunning craftsmanship and stunning architecture certainly fulfils this brief. The cathedral’s signature octagonal dome is immediately identifiable and can be seen from miles around. Frequently described as a rather eclectic structure, the style draws influence from Renaissance, Romanesque and Gothic traditions.
The last Roman Catholic cathedral constructed in Ireland, the fact that Galway Cathedral was built from local limestone is at odds with the atmosphere of warmth and peace it exudes. Boasting an impressive variety of art, there is much to be marvelled at when paying a visit to this cathedral. While Imogen Stuart’s statue of the Blessed Virgin is one of the most impressive features, Patrick Pollen’s incredibly complex crucifixion mosaic behind the altar is stunning to say the least. Rose windows, marble floors and a truly spectacular pipe organ all enhance the astonishing quality of this space.
Whether you’re a devout Catholic or simply want to marvel at the stunning architecture, it’s next to impossible not to get goosebumps when making your way through Galway Cathedral.
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