Have you noticed the door of reconciliation at St Patrick's Cathedral?

By Lovin' Dublin

June 1, 2023 at 11:42am


Ever wondered where the phrase 'to chance your arm' comes from?

The next time you're wandering around St Patrick's Cathedral, based in Dublin 8, you might want to look out for the Door of Reconciliation.

The fascinating history of the artefact is where the Irish phrase “to chance your arm” is thought to have come from.

This iconic phrase dates back to a family feud in 1492, between the Fitzgeralds of Kildare and the Butlers of Ormond over who would become Lord Deputy of Ireland, and actually had a completely different meaning.


Violence erupted, and the Butlers took refuge in the Chapter House of St Patrick's Cathedral, with the Fitzgeralds following behind him, urging for them to come out and make peace. The Butlers initially refused, so the head of the Fitzgerald family ordered a hole to be cut in the door so he could fit his arm through the hole, offering his hand to show he was serious.

The Butlers believed his intentions were honourable and agreed to make peace, and thus, one of the most iconic Irish sayings was born.

Header images via Getty & YouTube



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