St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare celebrates 800th Anniversary

Share this story

St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare is marking the 800th anniversary of its construction, with a special Diocesan Service of Harvest Thanksgiving Service on Sunday 17th September at 3.30pm. The Service will celebrate the work of Bishop Ralph of Bristol who initiated the design and building of the current cathedral in 1223 AD.

Dean Isobel Jackson of St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare said, “Celebrating 800 years of worship in this iconic building, provides a wonderful opportunity to give thanks for all those through the ages who have found a Christian home here. However, it also allows us to pray for the next 800 years of community worship here”. 

Music for the service will be provided by the Kildare Cathedral Choir and the preacher will be Rt Rev Adrian Wilkinson, the Bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory. The service will also feature a special poem and a reading from the 12th and 13th centuries, which reflect the Medieval period of the cathedral’s construction. A newly composed Anthem, written by Peter Whyte, entitled “Brigid, the Exalted One”, will be sung by the choir. 

Bishop Pat Storey said, “It is a remarkable achievement for St Brigid’s Cathedral to have reached such a milestone. Like so many churches across our diocese it is testament to the commitment and quiet witness of generations, up to the very present. It is also a mark of commitment to, and belief in, the future.”

Bishop Ralph of Bristol was the first English Bishop of Kildare and began a period of nearly 200 years of English Bishops in the Diocese. St Brigid’s Cathedral had been plundered sixteen times before the Anglo-Norman conquest. The newly appointed Bishop Ralph of Bristol repaired the ruined cathedral and built a new stone building, giving the cathedral its present shape in the years 1223-30. This building replaced the historic wooden structures, which had been present since St Brigid herself established a double monastery for men and women on the hilltop site in 480AD.

Bishop Ralph of Bristol had previously served as treasurer of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin and in this role he is credited with the repair and ornamentation of St. Patrick’s, leading it to be converted into a full cathedral. In Kildare he developed a new, Gothic style cathedral for both military and ecclesiastical reasons.

All are welcome to attend the 800th anniversary service.