County Armagh has been the spiritual capital of Ireland for 1,500 years and the seat of both Protestant and Catholic archbishops. St Patrick called Armagh 'my sweet hill' and built his stone church on the hill where the Anglican cathedral now stands.
Armagh is said to be named after Queen Mhaca, who is believed to have arrived in Ireland 608 years after the biblical flood. One of the oldest settlements in Ireland it became a prestigious centre for religion and learning in the Dark Ages. It still has two Saint Patrick's Cathedrals, one which was the seat of Saint Patrick's his primacy, established in 445AD.
Armagh is the location of the great mound of Navan Fort, stronghold of the kings of Ulster from 700 BC. It occupies a key place in Heroic Age legend, notably in tales about Cuchulain. Whenever King Conor had a problem with Queen Maeve, the rather fierce ruler of Connaught, Cuchulain came to the rescue
Brian Boru, who drove the Norsemen out of Ireland in 1014, is buried in the present Anglican cathedral, a mostly a 19th-century restoration round the 13th-century shell, in the city of Armagh.
The cathedral library, founded in 1771 by Archbishop Robinson who also built the observatory, has a copy of Gulliver's Travels corrected in Swift's hand, and the Claims of the Innocents (pleas to Oliver Cromwell).