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St Mel's Cathedral, Longford

(4.8/5 based on 70+ reviews on the web)
The Cathedral Church of St Mel is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, located in the town of Longford in Ireland. Built between 1840 and 1856, with the belfry and portico as later additions, it has been considered the "flagship cathedral" of the Irish midlands region, Longford's "landmark building" and "one of the finest Roman Catholic churches in Ireland". The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Mél (died 488), who came to Ireland with Saint Patrick and who was ordained bishop at Ardagh, County Longford.On Christmas Day 2009 the cathedral was destroyed by a fire in the early hours of the morning. The restored cathedral re-opened in December 2014.Design historyThe cathedral is a Neoclassical stone building, at the north-east side of the town. It was begun in 1840 to the design of Joseph B. Keane, with the foundation stone (taken from the ruined cathedral in nearby Ardagh) lain by the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Dr. William O'Higgins, on 19 May 1840. Work was then delayed by the arrival of the Great Famine, but the church was opened for worship by Dr. O'Higgins's successor, Rt. Rev. John Kilduff, on 29 September 1856. The roof is supported by 24 limestone columns quarried at nearby Newtowncashel. The 1860 belfry was designed by John Bourke, and the 1889 portico was designed by George Ashlin. The cathedral was finally consecrated on 19 May 1893.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Impressed by a majestic Cathedral in a population so small. But still most impressed us the history of your fire and the effort to rebuild it and improve it.
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  • Virtually destroyed by fire in 2009 this cathedral has been rebuilt with care and is well worth a visit. The stained glass windows draw your eye to the architectural detail of barrel vaulted ceiling, ...  more »
  • Had visitor from UK. They couldnt believe the size of it. I told them about the fire and told them all about the restoration work. They were amazed of the workmanship. The only thing that was a letdow...  more »