Inside Armagh Cathedral, the staff pointed out the stained-glass window over the West Door, which contains the armorial bearings of principal donors during the great 1834 restoration of the building, viz.
1st Earl O'Neill KP PC; Sir Thomas Molyneux Bt; Samuel Blacker; Maxwell Close; James Wood; Elias Elsler; Thomas Keers; Roger Hall; R Livingstone; and Sir William Verner Bt MP.Could Lord O'Neill's act of beneficence have been a form of atonement?
In 1566, Shane O'Neill ‘utterly destroyed the Cathedral by fire, lest the English should again lodge in it’.
In 1641 it again became a target for the O'Neills, when Sir Phelim O'Neill burned it.
I was made aware of an anomaly in the North-west Window, viz. an anatomical error in the glass, whereby the right leg of the boy in the central light terminates in a left foot.
From the Cathedral, I walked the very short distance ~ about one minute ~ to a little museum, Number 5 Vicars' Hill.
Vicars' Hill is a terrace of houses formerly occupied by cathedral choirmen and clergy widows. Numbers 1-4 were built by Archbishop Boulter in 1724; the rest were constructed by Archbishop Robinson.I enjoyed a lengthy chat with the curator, reminiscing about such Primates as Archbishop Simms, the last prelate to reside at Armagh Palace.
5 Vicars’ Hill was built in 1772 as the Diocesan Registry to hold records for the Church of Ireland and Armagh diocese, its octagonal rooms contained many public as well as Church records.
While the diocesan records are no longer retained in the building, some examples are on display, with ancient coins, gems, significant prints, early Christian artifacts and other collections and curiosities from Armagh Public Library.
The deceptively large building, which resembles a modest dwelling from the outside, has a fascinating interior and retains many of its original features.
Rather conveniently, when the museum closed at 1pm, I walked next door to number 4, a charming little restaurant and tearoom called One Eighty on the Hill.
On perusal of the menu, I opted for the smoked salmon Caesar salad and a pot of tea.
The young staff here were lovely ~ most attentive and courteous.
Whilst waiting, the noble eye found itself gazing upwards, to the quirky crockery light fitting.
My salad was very good. The tea arrived in an enormous pot, which must have held about two pints.
I actually had trouble lifting it with one hand, having to support the weight by placing a few fingers on the spout!
Having spent a delightful forty minutes at One Eighty on the Hill, I ventured out into the sunshine and ambled down the hill, past Church House and the Library.
Armagh Public Library, the oldest library in Northern Ireland, was founded in 1771 by Primate Robinson as part of his plans to establish a university and to improve Armagh City.
The 1773 ‘Act for settling and preserving the Publick Library in Armagh for ever’ established the Library and its name.
First published in May, 2013.