The Twin Cathedrals of Waterford
CELEBRATING WATERFORD’S GEORGIAN TWIN CATHEDRALS
25 – 26 January 2014
The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity
‘Christ Church Cathedral ’, Cathedral Square, Waterford (1774-1780)
Barronstrand Street, Waterford (1793-1796)
President Higgins and Mrs. Higgins visited the twin cathedrals in June 2014
Permission has been granted by the Irish Georgian Society to Dean Maria Jansson and the Very Rev. Paul Waldron ADM to establish a chapter of the Society in Waterford to promote the unique twin cathedrals of the city and throughout the south east generally.
The Twin Cathedrals not only share a common founding architect, John Roberts; they are of exceptional architectural and historical significance; are both named after the Holy Trinity and have been in continuous use as sites of worship since their foundation.
The official launch of the chapter was held on 25/26 January 2014, marking precisely the tercentennial anniversary of the birth of John Roberts. On Saturday, 25 January a fascinating tour of both cathedrals was led by historian Julian Walton. On Sunday, 26 January, matins was sung in Trinity Cathedral and a candle lit choral evensong held in Christ Church Cathedral as the liturgy would have been celebrated in 1796 and 1780 respectively. The objective of launching the Twin Cathedrals Chapter in such a manner was to invite the people of Waterford to discover afresh their own historical and spiritual heritage as well as to celebrate and make known this heritage nationally and internationally.
The dates of the cathedral foundations are significant. By 1780 (the completion of Christ Church Cathedral), Irish Protestants were rejecting the Penal Laws as bigoted and unjust. 1796 (the foundation of the Roman Catholic Cathedral) marked the end of the most important Penal Laws and an important step towards Catholic Emancipation. In that year Waterford got its first bridge, which bore a plaque marking the end of religious division.