Johnny King was only a little boy but he was on a mission; he was chasing the ducks that had escaped from his fathers shop on Bride Street. In the shadow of the spire of St. Patricks, he was happy to note that none of them had gone into the Cathedral – that would have been trouble …
Christianity in Ireland goes back to the 5th Century when another boy was kidnapped from Roman Britain and, for six years, was to be a slave in Ireland. He escaped back to his family but he was to return to Ireland years later as a missionary and, as he says in his “Confessions of St. Patrick”, he “baptized so many thousands of people”.
Maltons “Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, 1st March 1793”A wooden church, where some of those baptisms occurred, was built outside Dublin and was later to bare his name.
In the 12th and 13th century a new much grander church was built. It was given the status of Cathedral which was odd; Dublin already had a Cathedral – Christ Church. Turbulent times were ahead; the reformation saw St. Patricks switch from being Catholic to Anglican and demoted from Cathedral back to church status – but not for too long before Queen Mary restored it. The churches history reached it’s nadir in the 17th century when, to show dis-respect to both the Catholic and Anglican religions, Oliver Cromwell was to use the building as a stable for his horses. Things were to start to improve though. The 18th century brought with it the arrivals of both it’s most famous Dean – Jonathan Swift of “Gulliver’s Travels” fame – and the new cathedral spire. James Malton was to capture the church at this point with two prints before the 19th century would see major reconstruction and restoration of the church.