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Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory

Lismore Cathedral

Opening Times

Daily 09:00—6:00 p.m.
Daily 09:00—4:00 p.m.

Entry is free.


Lismore Cathedral dedicated to Cartagh, also spelled Carthage, was founded in 635 by Mochuda who took the name of his teacher Cartagh so that it might not be forgotten, so the one man has two names!

Lismore Cathedral is not the only church in the Diocese to bear one or other of the founder’s names. Timogue in Stradbally Union, Leighlin is on the site of another monastery founded by him. Cathal, born near Dungarvan, studied here in the 7th Century, is now known as St. Cathaldo and is the patron Saint of Taranto on the-heel-of Italy. The Archbishop of Taranto came here in 2000 and said “My spiritual roots are in Lismore”. By the 12th century church matters in Ireland had become chaotic. An abbot could bequeath his monastery to his brother who in turn could could bequeath it to his son, and he might not at all be a churchman. Malachy of Armagh did major work in ridding the church of such abuses and helping us move from a monastic system into a diocesan/parochial system. Malachy had come to Lismore as mature student and had completed his studies there.


Thus we find ourselves as custodians of a Christian centre with a long and honourable history. It must be our task to conserve and cultivate what we have inherited so that it may continue as a living memorial to what in the past contributed so much to the life of the Church. Lismore Cathedral is a parish church with its regular church services. It is open every day. The Saint Columba Chapel in the north Transept is reserved for Holy Communion on days other than Sunday and for private prayer. A book on the priedieu contains many prayers, added to daily, written by visitors.

Historical Background

St. Carthagh also known as Mochuda founded a church, monastery and school on the site in 635AD. Nothing remains of this early church but four memorial stones in the west wall date from the 9th century. A few fragments of the first Cathedral built in the Romanesque style in the 12th century survive. Parts of the Crossing date back to the 13th century. During the 17th century the Cathedral was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt. Further additions were made continuing to the present day.

Items/Features of Interest:
Memorial Stones Dating from 9th century to important members of the university which existed at the time.
Lismore Crozier: The crozier probably dates to the early 12th century was discovered in 1814 hidden in the castle walls. The original is now in the National Museum.
McGrath tomb A fine example of 16th century stone carving. Look for the twelve apostles around the sides with their names in Latin. St. Carthagh, Catherine & Patrick are depicted at the east end the crucifixion at the west end. Robert Boyle, 14th son of the Earl of Cork and father of chemistry (Boyle’s Law) was born in Lismore Castle and baptised in the Cathedral.
Chancel ceiling Elaborately decorated 19th century ceiling restored in its original colours. Try and spot the violin and pan pipes. Notice the expressions on the faces.
Burne Jones Window Stained glass window by pre-Raphaelite artist Burne Jones. The only one of its kind in Ireland depicts two virtues Justice (a man with sword and scales) and Humility (a woman holding a lamb).

Library—Open by prior appointment only


History of cathedral available in English, Irish, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Swedish Self-Guided Tour booklet available €2.
St. Carthage & his Cathedral €2.
Famine Display—comprehensive display of famine times around Lismore.

Information Links

For more information on the area go to Discover Lismore or Heritage Towns of Ireland


DEAN: The Very Reverend Paul Draper


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