Architecture of the Cathedral

Fortunately, the channel of this cathedral still stands and it is possible from it to appreciate the magnitude and beauty of the whole edifice which was destroyed not very many years after its erection. In fact, this portion is still in use, having been incorporated in the modern cathedral erected in the last century.

The semi-circular channel arch is accepted as being the finest example of Hiberno-Romanesque architecture now extant. It consists of six concentric arches decreasing in width at the base from 20' 6" to 15' 8" and in height from 19' 5" to 16'. The column shafts are plain but the rectangular capitals are beautifully carved with patterns of interlacery and fantastic faces. There is also some excellent work on the imposts and the arch mouldings are decorated with chevron, diamond frette and nebule designs.

In the East wall are three windows with circular tops each 5' in height and narrowing from a width of 5' on the inside of 1' 6" externally. These are also elaborately carved in zig-zag and other designs. The walls are four feet thick and the chancel itself is a square building with an external measurement of about 26'. Petrie in his Round Towers and Ancient Architecture of Ireland, page 317, refers to this interesting relic as follows:

"Of the ancient church of Tuam the chancle only remains, but fortunately, this is sufficient to make us acquainted with its general style of architecture, and to show that it was not only a larger, but a more splendid structure than Cormac's church as Cashel and not unworthy of the powerful monarch to whom it chiefly owed its erection".

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