4.6 St Columb’s Cathedral

St Columb’s Church of Ireland cathedral was built between 1628 and 1633, almost certainly on, or at least close to, the site of a Cistercian Nunnery shown on maps of about 1600. Despite the long history of settlement here, this is Derry’s oldest surviving building. The cathedral has been extended and altered, and more recently it has been extensively renovated.

Derry st Columns cathedral Alan Sproull

It was the first Anglican cathedral built in these islands since the Reformation. The dedication stone for the building of the cathedral is inside the west door and commemorates the Londoners who paid for it,

If stones could speake
Then Londons prayse should sounde
Who built this church and cittie
From the grounde

Built into this stone is a smaller, older stone which is said to have come originally from the Teampall Mór, Derry’s medieval cathedral.

A stained glass window commemorating Colmcille is located in the south-east corner in the Archbishop Alexander Chapel. Archbishop Alexander’s wife was the hymn writer and poet Cecil Frances Alexander. Best known for hymns and carols such as Once in royal David’s city, and There is a green hill far away, she also wrote a hymn on the city’s patron saint.

 

getting there

To go to St Columb’s Cathedral from St Columba’s Well walk up Fahan Street and pass through Butchers’ Gate in the city walls. Pass through the Diamond and turn right into Bishops Street Within and take a left turn just before the Courthouse.

To go to St Columb’s Cathedral from Áras Cholmcille pass through Bishop’s Gate in the city walls. Walk down Bishop Street within and take a right turn just after the Courthouse.


 
   
  • Guild Hall, Derry, Port na Long.
     

    4.1 Guild Hall Square, Port na Long.

    In the medieval city, Guild Hall Square was ‘Port na Long - ‘the port of the ships’ on the banks of the Foyle. This is was a main approach to medieval city.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    4.2 St Augustine's Church

    St Augustines may well be the site of Derry’s Columban monastery founded in the late 6th century.

  • Áras Cholmcille
     

    4.3 Áras Cholmcille

    Áras Cholmcille – the St Columba Heritage Centre – is in the grounds of the Long Tower church. It is an ideal place to get an overview of the stories of Colmcille, patron of the city.

  • Long Tower Church
     

    4.4 Long Tower Church

    This Catholic church was built near two important Christian landmarks in Derry. The round tower of Derry’s monastery was near here until the 17th century and gives the Long Tower Church its name.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    4.5 St Columb’s Well

    This holy well is the focus for a celebration on 9 June - Colmcille’s feast day.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs
     

    4.6 St Columb’s Cathedral

    St Columb’s Church of Ireland cathedral was built between 1628 and 1633. Despite the long history of settlement here, this is Derry’s oldest surviving building.