Step inside Killarney Cathedral, one of the largest churches in Ireland, to find a peaceful, beautiful church with gorgeous stained glass, carrying living history on its walls. Also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral or the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, this is an important landmark in Killarney and one that brings pride to its citizens.
From the outside of Killarney Cathedral, see a detailed and dramatic façade with tall, narrow arched lancet windows and pointed roofs. The central tower reaches up to a dizzying height in the sky, its point topped with a cross.
This Gothic Revival cathedral was designed by famous English architect Augustus Pugin and is said to be one of his favorite works. When commissioned in 1840, he set about making a homage to a cathedral that he loved, Salisbury Cathedral in England, so some similarities are evident. Construction of the cathedral was paused during the terrible Great Famine, when the sick and dying found refuge and care here inside a makeshift hospital.
Large parts of the stone interior date from the 1970s, the most recent refurbishment. At the west end is a gallery housing a huge pipe organ. Light streams through the intricate stained-glass windows onto the Tasmanian oak in the altar, pulpit, chairs and throne and the baptismal font made of limestone.
Light a candle and enjoy for a few minutes the serenity of a cathedral that rivals any of the most famous sites of Europe. The acoustics are stunning, enhancing the beauty of sacred music from the choir or organ. Look for a huge redwood tree near the western entrance, a tribute to children who died during the famine.
Killarney Cathedral stands in a wide green field. It is a short walk from both the center of town and the green reserves beyond, through which the River Deenagh runs. Visit at any time of day and speak with a parish volunteer who can tell you about the history of the cathedral and parish.