The Regimental Chapel, St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast

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The Altar in the Regimental Chapel
The Altar in the Regimental Chapel

The Royal Irish Regiment's Regimental Chapel is situated in the north transept of Belfast Cathedral and was dedicated on 6 June 1981.

Construction of the cathedral began in 1899 and in 1976 a fund was launched to complete the original design and include a north transept. The Colonel of The Regiment requested his Advisory Council to study with the cathedral authorities how best the Regiment could help and, at the same time, provide a spiritual home for the Regiment.

Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer launched the appeal shortly before his death in 1978. HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, whose late husband had been the first Colonel in Chief of the Royal Irish Rangers, took a keen interest in the appeal, as did Lady Templer after the death of Field Marshal Templer.

The Regimental Chapel was dedicated by the Rt Rev Arthur Butler, Bishop of Connor and a former Army Chaplain, at a special service on 6 June 1981, which was attended by many former and serving members of the Regiment and its antecedent regiments. Most of the furnishings in the Chapel have been gifted by former members of the Regiment, many in memory of fallen comrades. The chapel is dominated by a fine stained glass window bearing the regimental crests and includes lines from Binyon's “For the Fallen”. On the formation of the Royal Irish Regiment in 1992, the Chapel became the Regimental Chapel of the Royal Irish Regiment. Each year the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral have granted the Regiment permission to hold two special services in the Cathedral. On the Sunday before the national Remembrance Sunday, the Regiment holds an Annual Remembrance Service and on the anniversary of the chapel’s dedication, a service of Holy Communion is held in the Chapel.

Unique amongst the items in the Regimental Chapel are:

a. The standards of Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George, and of General Sir James Steele as a Military Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.

b. A unique book of prayers presented to Captain (later Major General) James Majury when imprisoned as a POW during the Korean War.

c. The last Colours presented to the 1st Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers.

d. .Colours which have been laid up by the following:

  • 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Rangers
  • 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Rangers
  • The North Irish Militia
  • 7th/10th Battalion The Ulster Defence Regiment
  • 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment (Home Service)

e. Books of Remembrance for:

  • The Royal Ulster Rifles
  • The Royal Irish Rangers
  • The Ulster Defence Regiment
  • The Royal Irish Regiment

(The relatives of those commemorated may examine the Books of Remembrance by applying to the Cathedral Office in advance of a visit)

f. Two panels, one showing holders of the Victoria Cross, the other the battalions of The Ulster Defence Regiment.

g. The Royal Irish Rifles Old Comrades Association Standards from the First World War

Panoramic (Drag image left, right, up and down to view.)

View a 360° panoramic of The Regimental Chapel in St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast