St Eunan’s Cathedral (also known as Raphoe Cathedral) is part of the Raphoe Group of Parishes in East Donegal and is dedicated to Saint Eunan (Irish: Adomnán) who was abbot of Iona (679–704).

The oldest part of the present building is the south east corner, which dates back to the 12th century. The rest of the cathedral is a mixture of successive rebuilding and alterations dating from the 17th to late 19th centuries. A major restoration, virtually a re-building of the medieval cathedral was taken in hand by Rt Rev Dr George Montgomery around 1605. Montgomery had been chaplain to King James I, and was nominated not only Bishop of Raphoe, but of Clogher and Derry at the same time.

After centuries of modifications and restorations, much of the current building dates from the 1730s. The entrance is by the porch under the tower built in 1738 by Bishop Nicholas Forster (1716-1744). By the 1870s, the building again underwent renovation by architect, Sir Thomas Drew. In 1892 he was commissioned to begin a plan of restoration which uncovered much of the medieval fabric while ‘medievalising’ the greater part of the rest of the building. The cathedral retains the characteristic of many such medieval buildings where larger bodies of clergy offered more elaborate liturgies in that the quire or chancel is longer than the nave.

During its most recent, significant restoration, the Cathedral closed for 16 months – and services moved to the parish hall temporarily – while a €450,000 renovation project was completed. A new roof was built, new lighting was installed, defective stonework was restored, and the cathedral’s interior was redecorated. The work was paid for out of St Eunan’s Fabric Fund, grants from the Department of Heritage and the AllChurches Trust, and church fundraisers such as a ‘Buy-a-Slate’ appeal.

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