This ancient and historic Cathedral, which is first and foremost “A House of God”, is a place of contemplation and beauty, a place of hope, and rich in symbol, the sole purpose of its existence the worship and service of Almighty God.
For almost 400 years, the Cathedral, which dominates the skyline on the highest point within the City Walls, has witnessed to God’s presence and love in what has often been a troubled and difficult history including through the Great Siege of Londonderry (1688/89) and the many intervening conflicts to the present day.
The present building was sensitively conserved through a programme (2010-2011) costing almost £4million which has enhanced the beauty of the Cathedral and rendered it in keeping with current technological advances.
The display cabinets in the Chapter House contain important artefacts relating to The Siege of Derry, including Governor George Walker’s Bible and sword, first and second editions of his account of the Siege, published in London in 1689, the four padlocks and keys of the city gates together with artefacts which belonged to Colonel Adam Murray, one of the officers in the garrison.
A recent addition to the collection is the series of 20 reproductions of folios from The Book of Kells painstakingly and meticulously executed by Mr Cyril Morrison, an expert calligraphic artist. Twelve of these are on display at any one time. An eye-catching centrepiece of the Chapter House is the kidney-shaped desk, once the property of the Earl Bishop, Frederick Hervey. It is believed to have been made in Italy in 1780.
The Cathedral has a fine collection of silver, including the Promise Chalice of 1613, and two fine flagons of Irish silver made in Dublin 1655, in fact the only two pieces of silver to be hallmarked in Ireland that year. These are on display occasionally.
Amongst the extensive collection of books, are three important Bibles: the Breeches Bible of 1583 (more correctly The Geneva Bible); the Bishop’s Bible of 1588; and a first edition of The Authorised Version of the Bible of 1611.
The Cathedral Registers of Births, Marriages, and Deaths are extant from 1642, and are almost continuous from that date. This is the second oldest collection in the Province of Ulster. The Chapter House also accommodates a rare set of eight volumes of “Ireland’s Memorial records 1914-1918” which contain the names of 49,000 Irishmen who died in The First World War.
Mounted on the wall are the two bass drums and four side drums which belonged to the Regimental Band of the 10th Battalion of The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the locally recruited volunteer regiment which served in the First World War.
Visitors: Mon-Sat 09:00 - 17:00. Sun services: 08:00, 11:00, 16:00 (except July & Aug). Also 10:00 Family Service (4th Sun every month).