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Music has played an integral part in the daily life of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral since its foundation in the thirteenth century. Henri de Londres (consecrated Archbishop of Dublin in 1213) created a college of sixteen vicars choral who lived within the precincts of the cathedral. Archbishop Richard Talbot (Archbishop of Dublin from 1418–49) endowed a college of six minor canons and six boy choristers in 1431. His purpose was to ensure the provision of polyphonic choral music in the Cathedral. Some three centuries later the combined choirs of Christ Church and Saint Patrick's Cathedrals sang the first performance of Handel's oratorio Messiah on 13 April 1742.
The main function of the choir today is the same as it has always been: to adorn the daily offices with hymns, psalms, canticles and anthems. It sings two services daily during school terms: the only cathedral choir to do so in these islands.
The choir is made up of 21 choristers, who like their predecessors, are still educated at the Cathedral Choir School (which, founded in 1432, is the only school of its kind in the country), 8 lay vicar choral and a number of choral scholars and Sunday men.
Details of choristerships for interested parents can be found by clicking here.
The choir is well known for its annual broadcast of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve nationally on RTE radio, as well as annual broadcasts for Saint Patrick's Day & Remembrance Sunday.
Touring has become an increasingly important aspect of the choir's activities outside the regular service commitments, and places visited have included Ireland, the UK (including visits to Gloucester Cathedral & Westminster Abbey), Germany, and a trip to Paris, where the choir sang in the Sacre-Coeur, Notre Dame, the American Church and La Trinite. In 2008, the choir visited Roskilde in Denmark as part of a special weekend of events to celebrate the safe return of the Sea Stallion, (a replica of a Viking Ship) from Dublin.
Recordings of the Cathedral Choir (including the recently released disc 'In Dublin's Fair City') can be purchased from the Cathedral Shop, a recording of Christmas Music from Dublin is due for release in December 2013.
Saint Patrick's Cathedral Girl Choristers were founded, (in their present form), in September 2000, with the intention of providing girls with an opportunity available to boys for many centuries. For further details regarding the girls' choir click here.