Limerick's St Mary's Cathedral to mark 850th anniversary with year of special events

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

Singing at St Mary’s: A programme of events for 2018 will be launched to celebrate the cathedral’s anniversary

Singing at St Mary’s: A programme of events for 2018 will be launched to celebrate the cathedral’s anniversary

ONE OF Limerick’s oldest buildings is turning 850 years old this year, and a programme to celebrate the historic milestone will be taking off at the end of this month.

The heart of the Church of Ireland in Limerick, St Mary’s Cathedral is the oldest building in daily use for its intended purpose - worship and prayer.

And now, the Bishop of Limerick, the Rt Rev’d Dr Kenneth Kearon, will launch a year-long programme of festivities to celebrate and promote the cathedral’s roles in city life - including in the realms of community, civic, cultural, educational, ecumenical, musical, sporting and tourism.

The dean, the Very Rev’d Niall J Sloane, said that “St Mary’s holds a very special place in the city of Limerick and its citizens”.

The cathedral, which was gifted to the church by Donal Mor O’Brien, the last King of Thomond, has been a site of Christian worship since 1168.

“It has been a royal palace, no doubt - a place of storytelling, feasting and celebrations. Over the succeeding centuries it has witnessed unique events, welcomed countless people through its doors and marked key moments in the lives of Limerick people,” said Rev Sloane.

“Today, as it continues to be a place of pilgrimage and prayer, it has a unique role to play within all aspects of city and diocesan life.

“The central theme of our celebrations in 2018 will be opening our doors to all and forging links with Limerick and beyond so that we may echo the Christian message of faith, love and witness.

“I invite you to join us as we celebrate this historic occasion and give thanks for St Mary’s Cathedral,” added the dean.

Highlights of the coming year include a visit from the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and a special service of thanksgiving.

Each month the Cathedral will highlight a figure associated with St Mary’s, and there will also be a tangible dimension to the celebrations as each month will focus on a charity or cause based in or around Limerick.

The year-long programme will officially be launched by the bishop on January 30.