If you are looking for a place to visit in County Galway, you might want to consider the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Tuam, or simply Tuam Cathedral. This impressive building is not only the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tuam, but also a witness to the rich and turbulent history of the region.

In the 14th century, a Gothic-style church dedicated to St. Mary was built on the site of an earlier monastic settlement founded by St. Jarlath in the 6th century. This church served as the diocesan cathedral until the English Reformation, when Queen Elizabeth I appointed William Mullaly as the Archbishop of Tuam for the Established Church (the Church of Ireland) in 1569. Mullaly and his successors took possession of the cathedral and expelled the Roman Catholic clergy.

The Roman Catholic community had to endure almost three centuries of persecution and discrimination under the Penal Laws, which restricted their religious and civil rights. During this time, they had no cathedral and had to worship in secret or in makeshift chapels. It was not until 1827 that the Penal Laws were relaxed and Catholics were allowed to build churches again.

The construction of Tuam Cathedral began in 1827 under the leadership of Archbishop Oliver Kelly, who wanted to build a new cathedral worthy of his archdiocese. It took 10 years before its eventual completion in 1837. It was designed by Dominick Madden, a local architect who also worked on other churches in Galway. The cathedral is a neoclassical building with a portico, a dome and two bell towers. It is made of limestone and granite, with marble columns and altars inside.

The interior of the cathedral is decorated with paintings, statues and mosaics. The main altar features a painting of the Assumption of Mary by George Petrie, a famous Irish artist. The side altars are dedicated to St. Joseph and St. Jarlath. The dome has a fresco of Christ in Glory by Thomas Coleman. The stained-glass windows depict scenes from the life of Christ and Mary, as well as Irish saints.

One of the most notable features of the cathedral is the organ, which was installed in 1878 by Telford & Telford, a renowned organ builder from Dublin. The organ has four manuals, 56 stops and over 3000 pipes. It is considered one of the finest organs in Ireland, and is regularly used for concerts and recitals.

You can watch live webcams of the cathedral on its website, or visit it in person at Bishop Street in Tuam. The cathedral is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, except during services. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

Tuam Cathedral is a must-see attraction for anyone who appreciates art, culture and faith. It is a testament to the resilience and devotion of the people of Tuam, who have preserved their spiritual tradition despite centuries of oppression and hardship. It is also a symbol of hope and unity for the future.


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Cathedral of the Assumption Tuam



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