Every year on March 17, the United States erupts in a sea of green as millions celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in honor of the patron saint of Ireland.

The holiday has become synonymous with Irish culture and heritage, from festive parades to vibrant gatherings. Yet, one symbol stands tall in the heart of it all: St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

The Architectural History of St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located in the heart of Dublin, is the largest church in Ireland and an architectural marvel boasting a rich history that dates back over 800 years. The cathedral’s origins can be traced back to the 12th century when it was built on the site of an earlier church dedicated to St. Patrick. It is believed that on this site, the saint baptized converts to Christianity in the 5th century.

The current structure, mainly built in the Gothic style, was constructed between 1220 and 1260 under the supervision of Archbishop John Comyn. The building has been subject to various modifications and restorations over the centuries, with the most significant restoration taking place in the 19th century, led by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness.

The cathedral features a cruciform layout with an impressive 140-foot-long central nave, side aisles, and a choir. The exterior is adorned with intricate stone carvings, flying buttresses, and an imposing 140-foot-tall bell tower. The interior houses a wealth of artistic and historical treasures, such as beautiful stained-glass windows, medieval tombs, and the famous “Door of Reconciliation.”

St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the United States

The architectural splendor of St. Patrick’s Cathedral has inspired and influenced the design of several churches in the United States, notably the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Completed in 1878, this neo-Gothic masterpiece symbolizes Irish American pride and is a focal point of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the United States.

Every year, millions of people across the United States celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with parades, parties, and gatherings. The inaugural St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York City in 1762, making it the largest and oldest of its kind. As the parade passes by the steps of New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, thousands of onlookers are reminded of the enduring connection between the United States and Ireland, exemplified by the architectural beauty of both cathedrals.

“I have visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral many times and have even attended Mass during my short two-year stint living in New York. Every time I have entered that beautiful cathedral, my breath is taken away with awe and wonder of that space. I once observed the St. Patrick’s Day parade with its festivities. It was fun to see all the people in the parade taking turns waving to the Bishop as he stood on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Everyone in the crowd was so happy and a little Irish that day,” said EAPC’s Architect Robin Sim.


As we don our green attire and raise a toast to St. Patrick, it’s essential to remember the architectural and cultural significance of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. The centuries-old cathedral serves as a reminder of Ireland’s rich history and its influence on the United States. As we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we celebrate not only the patron saint of Ireland but also the architectural wonder that is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, standing as a testament to the enduring bond between the two nations.