The State Pew at St Patrick's Cathedral

 

At the top of the nave on the left hand side of the aisle is a pew which was at one stage reserved for members of the British royal family who visited the Cathedral. A wooden carving of a lion and a unicorn either side of a crest marks the seats as different from the rest. The seats were used on several occasions by either current or future monarchs including Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, and Edward VI. When a member of the royal family was not present the Viceroy/Lord Lieutenant would represent the crown in their place.

Since Irish independence the pew has assumed a new role as the State Pew and is reserved for the President of Ireland. Although there is no formal arrangement in place, generally the President visits the Cathedral at least once a year to attend the annual Remembrance Sunday Service. The pew is always left vacant when the President (or his/her representative) is not present in the building.

Today many emblems and monuments mark the building's connection to famous visitors to the building. The State Pew's history is marked by the presence of both its former use and its current. Behind the wooden carving (marking the presence of the British Royal family) there is now a gold harp on an azure blue background which indicates that it is used by the Irish President.

In the south aisle there are also monuments to two Irish Presidents whose funerals were held in Saint Patrick's Cathedral. They were Douglas Hyde in 1949, the first President of Ireland, and Erskine Childers in 1974, who died just one year into his term of office. Both men were members of the Church of Ireland. At the time of Douglas Hyde's funeral, the rules of the Roman Catholic Church were so strict that the members of the Irish government felt they could not attend the service, as this would involve entering a Protestant building. Therefore they waited outside and did not join into the ceremonies until the funeral procession had left the Cathedral on its way to the graveyard. 

Monument for two presidents whose funerals were held in the Cathedral. 

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