Due to its connections with Saint Patrick, Armagh has claimed an important role in ecclesiastical circles since early Middle Ages. To this day, Archbishops of Armagh – both Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland – are also Primates of All Ireland, making Armagh the ecclesiastical capital of the island. This is despite tense competition over the centuries with the Archdiocese of Dublin, with the larger city always having been politically and economically more prominent than Armagh.
During the reformation the Archdiocese with the seat in the old cathedral was converted from Catholicism to Church of Ireland, in parallel with the Anglican Church of England.
Being the most important person in the (then) official state church of the island, it is therefore not surprising that it was a Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh, Richard Robinson, who had the political, social, and financial capital to found an observatory during the Age of Enlightenment. As such, the Church of Ireland Archbishops of Armagh have always had a close connection with Armagh Observatory.
Below you will find summaries of the work of three Archbishops of Armagh as they relate to the Observatory in particular and astronomy in general.