Chapel of St Patrick and the saints of Ireland
St Patrick (387-461) brought the Christian faith to Ireland, and is venerated as
their patron saint.
In the chapel, which awaits completion, green is the dominant colour, with much
of the marble originating in Ireland. Celtic designs are inlaid on the floor and at the
foot of the alter. The image of the shamrock (used by St Patrick to explain the
Trinity) can be seen throughout the chapel; on the rear wall, in the marble screen
beside the cathedral, behind the altar, and wooden furniture, and even in the
candle-stand outside the chapel.
The snakes which curl around the altar recall the legend of St Patrick driving the
snakes out of Ireland.
Above the altar is a bronze gilt statue of St Patrick, in the style of an ancient celtic
carving. Nearby is a mosaic of St Patrick, erected in 1999.
Around the chapel walls are the badges of Irish Regiments that fought in World
War I. In a casket by the altar are inscribed the names fo 50,000 Irish soldiers who
died at that time. In 2001 the President of ireland, Mary McAleese, prayed in the chapel and laid a wreath to the dead commemorated here - a visit also made by
President Mary Robinson in 1996.
Outside the chapel, a mosaic commemoriates St Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of
Armagh. St Oliver was the last person in England to die for the Catholic faith, and
was executed at Tyburn in 1681.
Lord, we ask your blessin upon the people of Ireland, And upon Irish people
throughout the world; We pray especially for peace in Northern Ireland
and reconciliation among its communities. May they reach out across ancient
divisions in trust, friendship, and forgiveness.