The Irish are very devoted to pilgrimage. In the Golden Age of Faith the Saints of Ireland undertook Peregrinatio Pro Christo to Heaven-knew-where to bring them the Catholic Faith. It is a startlingly rare thing to make a pilgrimage to Armagh, the seat of Saint Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, and his successor the Primate of All Ireland, and, in a sense, the spiritual heart and ecclesiastical capital of Ireland.
It is a strange thing that the Irish, once so faithful to pilgrimages and patterns to local places of devotion, and now so faithful to pilgrimages to Lourdes, Fatima and other places far away, are increasingly neglectful to visit sites in their own Country where God has shared his grace with the Irish People. That is the strength of the Catholic Heritage Association. It is taking us back, not only to our historical roots but to the places of our living Catholic heritage, where God's grace poured out upon Ireland and may yet still fall. Through vikings, normans and reformers so-called, we are often bereft of the bones of our Saints but, when Emancipation came once more, great Cathedrals and Churches rose up there to the glory of God. Our Cathedrals are often the beacons of a shining sanctity that once reposed there. They are still our spiritual mother-churches and it is a joy to be part of restoring to their Altars the never-abrogated Gregorian Rite that, in essentials, was first celebrated there by our first Saints.
The present Cathedral, the National Cathedral, as Cardinal Logue called it, was built between 1840 and 1904, the medieval Cathedral having been confiscated during the 16th century. Historic images of the Cathedral can be seen here.