The Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the head of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, elected by the Chapter of the cathedral. The office was created in 1219 or 1220, by one of several charters granted to the cathedral by Archbishop Henry de Loundres between 1218 and 1220.
For centuries, the Dean of St. Patrick’s was the only Dean in Dublin, and documents of those years often refer to him as the Dean of Dublin – but from around 1539, there was also the office of Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, which had been a Priory, headed by a Prior and Canons.
The Reformation took effect in Ireland following a hiatus in the office of Archbishop of Dublin after the death of Archbishop Alen in 1534, and the election of George Browne to that office by the Chapters of both Cathedrals under pressure from King Henry VIII.
From 1547 to 1555, St. Patrick’s was suppressed as a Foundation, reduced to the status of a parish church, without its Chapter or Dean – the Dean and other senior officials being pensioned off by the King. It was restored in 1555.