Limerick City’s oldest church, St. Mary's gets surprisingly few visitors for such a beautiful building. St. Mary's Anglican Cathedral began as a palace, and some parts of the original building still stand.
A mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles, the majority of the present day structure survives from the restoration of the building in 1580 by Bishop Folan. The interior includes beautiful stained glass windows, as well as ornate wood carvings on the misericords (support shelves) of the choir stalls These misericords are the only remaining pre-Elizabethan carvings in Ireland. The 21 carvings represent popular middle-age symbols, including
- a unicorn goat
- a griffin
- a sphinx
- a wild boar
- a swan
- an eagle
- a cockatrice holding its tail
- the Lion of Judah with a dragon
- an angel the head of Henry IV
- a dragon biting its tail
- two antelopes with intertwined necks
The main altar consists of an impressive 13-foot long stone slab.
St. Mary's Cathedral. Image by Martin Roell