St. Anne's Cathedral

Belfast, United Kingdom

St Anne's Cathedral is unusual in serving two separate dioceses (Connor and Down and Dromore).  The foundation stone being laid in 1899 by the Countess of Shaftesbury. The old parish church of St Anne by Francis Hiorne of 1776 had continued in use, up until 31 December 1903, while the new cathedral was constructed around it; the old church was then demolished. The Good Samaritan window, to be seen in the sanctuary, is the only feature of the old church to be retained in the cathedral. Initially, only the nave of the cathedral was built, and this was consecrated in 1904.

In 1924 it was decided to build the west front of the cathedral as a memorial to the Ulstermen and women who had served and died in the Great War. The foundation stone for this was laid in 1925 and the completed facade, to an amended design by the architect Sir Charles Archibald Nicholson, was dedicated in June 1927.

In the meantime, the central crossing, in which the choir sits, was built between 1922 and 1924. The Baptistery, to plans drawn up by the late W H Lynn, who had assisted Sir Thomas Drew, was dedicated in 1928, and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, with its beautiful mosaics depicting Saint Patrick, was dedicated in 1932, the 1500th anniversary of the arrival of St Patrick in Ireland.

In 1941 the cathedral was almost destroyed by a German bomb, which caused extensive damage to surrounding properties. In 1955 work began on the construction of the ambulatory, at the east end of the cathedral. This work was dedicated in 1959, but it was not for another ten years that it was possible to begin work on the north and south transepts. The Troubles and inflation led to long delays and major problems with the financing of this work.

The south transept, containing the Chapel of Unity, and with the organ loft above, was dedicated in 1974, and the north transept, with the large Celtic cross designed by John MacGeagh on the exterior, and housing the Chapel of the Royal Irish Rifles, was completed in 1981.

In April 2007 a 40-metre stainless steel spire was installed on top of the cathedral. Named the 'Spire of Hope', the structure is illuminated at night and is part of a wider redevelopment planned for the Cathedral Quarter. The base section of the spire protrudes through a glass platform in the cathedral's roof directly above the choir stalls, allowing visitors to view it from the nave.

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Details

Founded: 1899
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Paul Brogan (14 months ago)
It's a fine cathedral (check out the pink sandstone) if a little modern trying to look old, with calling in and seeing. They put on events also, which is pretty cool.
Michael English (14 months ago)
An impressive building. Many interesting artefacts. The Sunday services are musically very good.
Chris Taylor (14 months ago)
Best to time your visit with the cathedral arts festival or culture night. Both great experiences that go beyond the religious. fabulous architecture, a lot of history and a modern management make this one of Belfast's go to tourist attractions.
Peter Lyons (14 months ago)
Belfast's Cathedral that is a wonderful building. It can be used as a church on Sundays or visited during the week by paying a small admission fee. There is lots to see including the baptism font and the stained glass.
Karen Mckeogh (15 months ago)
Beautiful building... Staff friendly and welcoming even if you just call in for a quick look.. Didn't have time for a full tour but its only £5 so may do it another tine. All the money goes on the upkeep. There's a nice wee shop with reasonably priced items too.
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