Designed by architects Joseph McCarthy and William Hague, this majestic building dominates the skyline of Monaghan town. With towering spires, Gothic features, rose and lancet stained glass windows, thick-stepped buttresses, turrets, pinnacles, and arches, St. Macartan's offers a visual feast. The outstanding feature of the cathedral is the emphasis on height. The exterior is stunning; the interior no less so. The sweeping expanse, replete with circular marble columns, moulded arches, vaulted ceilings, and Gothic corbel stones, leads into a multi-level sanctuary featuring finely-wrought sculptures and a massive 6-ton hand-carved granite altar. Bronze rails, travertine floors, and an unpolished travertine clochan (beehive hut) reminiscent of the dwellings of ancient Irish monks lend a unique, mysterious, and sacred air to this architectural masterpiece. Wall coverings of hand-made tapestries and an organ of more than 2,000 pipes tower above the first floor, made even more glorious by brilliant multi-colored rose and lancet stained glass windows.
A plaque near the front of the cathedral door depicts St. Macartan in garments of the period and as a tall, strong, and vigorous apostle who, during times of another's physical weariness, carried him on his back through the rushing currents of deep waters. St. Macartan has forever since been referred to as Tranfhear Padraig, St. Patrick's Helper. St. Macartan of Clogher died in 506 A.D.. The year 2006 commemorated 1500 years of faith.
The Cathedral is open daily for Mass, prayer, and meditation. Brochures, booklets, and brief, guided tours are available upon request.
Monaghan Cathedral, Old Armagh Road, Monaghan Town, Co Monaghan
By car: N2 from Dublin, A3 from Belfast.
Written by Joy Davis - Summer of Travel 2007