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The Cathedral Exterior  
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The Exterior

The external form of the Cathedral is “Decorated Gothic”. This is well exemplified in the western tower and spire, the high nave ridge, the relatively low lean-to aisle roofs, the dropping of the ridge line over the chancel and the slight projection of the east gable beyond the aisles.

One of the most interesting features is the contrast between the granite of the aisle buttresses and the grey/green stonework between them and the granite trim of the large windows. The trim of the clerestory windows is in sandstone. Toye & Ashlin, architects for the belfry and spire adhered to the basic principles of design, but they added considerable decoration to the belfry and spire, and also added pinnacles and statues to the east end of the chancel and aisles.

The Grounds

Bishop John Keys O’Doherty was the first bishop to be consecrated in the Cathedral. When he came to St. Eugene’s in 1890, there were only two entrance gates - one at Creggan Street and one at the Great James Street end of Francis Street. Two new avenues were then constructed to give access to the Cathedral from William Street and Great James Street. The smaller gate at Great James Street was also added at this time. All the wrought iron gates were ordered from the firm of Jones, Belfast.

The Bishop’s House, built in 1876, is constructed in the same stone as the Cathedral. All of the bishops lived in the house until 1988 when the bishop’s aprtments were refurbished as diocesan offices. The priests of St. Eugene’s parish have always lived there.

Located at the William Street gate is the Gate Lodge, designed by E.J. Toye and built by the firm of Joseph Ballantine in 1904.

The Grotto

The Grotto was erected in the grounds of the Cathedral in 1928 in memory of Bishop Charles McHugh (1907-1926) because of his great devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes, and to commemorate the fact that he inaugurated the first Irish National Pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1912.

The Grotto was blessed by Bishop O’Kane on the eve of the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on Wednesday, 10th February 1929.

Bishop Farren’s Grave

Prior to his death Bishop Neil Farren expressed a wish to be buried outside the Cathedral. He died on 7th May 1980. His remians were interred at the right of the main entrance on the 12th May 1980.


The Cathedral’s ten bells were manufactured by the firm of Gillett & Johnstone, Croydon, and cost £2,145. They arrived in Derry on 16th September 1902 and were consecrated by Bishop O’Doherty ten days later.  

As a native of the city, Bishop O’Doherty was keenly conscious of the significance of the sound of the Cathedral bells ringing out over the city. The bells of St. Eugene’s rang for the first time on Christmas Eve 1902. The bells are individually dedicated to:

The Blessed Virgin
Saint Joseph
Saint Eugene
Saint Michael the Archangel
Saint Gabriel
Saint Patrick
Saint Columba
Saint Brigid
Saint Dympna
Saint Aloysius

The latin inscription on the large bell reads: ‘Ad gloriam Dei et in honoren Sancti Eugeni me fieri fecit rudmus Joannes K. O’Doherty eps derrienis anno rep sal 1902 Leone XIII feliciter regnante’. (‘To the glory of God and in honour of Saint Eugene, the Reverend John K. O’Doherty, Bishop of Derry had me made in 1902 during the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII’).

The bells chime out a selection of hymns in keeping with the liturgical season. The bells ring out each day at 8.00am, 12 noon, 6.00pm and 9.00pm.

  Top Left Image : The Bell dedicated to Saint Eugene
Top Right Image : The Rear of the Cathedral