Nestled in the heart of the medieval city of Kilkenny this cathedral was built in 1857.
Saint Mary’s was designed by William Deane Butler. He was chosen by Bishop William Kinsella who instigated the building of St Mary’s in February 1842. Work began in April 1843 and finished in 1857. On Sunday 4 October 1857, St Mary’s had its grand opening, which consisted of a two-and-three-quarter hour ceremony that began at 6.15 am. The cost of the building is estimated to have been £25,000. The cathedral is made from cut-limestone which was sourced locally. It has a cruciform plan and its style is described as ‘Early English Gothic’. The design is believed to have been based on Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucester, England. It is situated on the highest point in Kilkenny City and is a significant local landmark. The cathedral is variously referred to as ‘St Mary’s’, ‘the church of St Kieran’ and ‘the Cathedral of the Assumption’. St Mary’s also houses a noted sculpture of the Madonna by Giovanni Maria Benzoni.
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