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

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mark Woonton (5 months ago)
It's an amazing piece of architecture, definitely one of the highlights in Belfast totally recommend getting a look if you are in the vicinity
Andrew Greig (5 months ago)
Beautiful place and plenty of info to read and artefacts to look at. There were staff there to help and guidebooks etc to get a more in depth visit if required. Very reasonable entry fee as well.
Lesley Hopper (8 months ago)
I was surprised to find this is a modern Cathedral. It was dressed for a wedding later on the day I visited and so was at its very best. Extremely friendly young man on the kiosk desk was a pleasure to spend time with.
Nirvair Singh (10 months ago)
Although, it was not that much old as I have seen some other cathedrals like 500yrs or 1000yrs old but still, old enough to sense the history and very fascinating as well. Tickets are very cheap as well, just starting from £2 pp.
Scarletts Sparkles (11 months ago)
This was a special visit for me as it was the place where my grandparents married in 1953, to be able to see the aisle in all its glory and imagine the nerves and excitement my grandmother must've experienced walking towards my grandfather that day. The building from the outside is beautiful but the inside is incredible, though very cold when I visited (probably high heating costs). There is so much to take in and the history is accessible to everyone. Intricately carved chairs, pews and lecterns are dedicated to people with engraved brass plates. Artifacts are presented beautifully in glass cases with information on each item. A lovely touch is a tree on which you can hang a personal message. The organ is breathtaking with it's polished pipes on display. A thoroughly enjoyable visit.
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