The Christchurch Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the city of Dublin being built in 1030 by Dunan, the first bishop of Dublin, and Sitriuc Silkenbeard, Norse King of Dublin. It is one of two gothic style churches in the city, the other being St. Patricks Cathedral.
This church has had claims from both Roman Catholic and the Church of Ireland archbishops as their pro-cathedral. This means both denominations have claimed it as their active cathedral in the city. According to law, the claims only belong to the Church of Ireland meaning the church remains a non-denominational church for all.
The cathedral is located above the largest crypt in Europe. This crypt was constructed in 1172 but was later renovated in the early 2000s to be opened for public viewing. Strongbow, a leader of the Anglo-Normans who captured Dublin in 1170, was buried in the tombs of the cathedral in 1176. His original tomb was destroyed when the south wall and roof of the cathedral collapsed in 1562. Since the tomb had a very superstitious past in the Dublin business community, a new monument was erected in Strongbow’s name and placed in the sanctuary of the cathedral. Rumor has it that if you had a business deal transpiring, you could go to the tomb, rub his head and glide a coin across his nose for luck in the deal.
Also after the renovation of the crypt, leaders at the time chose to bring historic items back in to the crypt for the public to view. These items included stocks made in 1670 which were previously used to punish offenders of the Court of the Dean’s Liberty. Historic books and alter goods were also placed back into the crypt for viewing.
The most interesting item put back into the crypt were “the cat and the rat”. “The cat and the rat” were discovered inside the organ pipes during the renovations. They were almost completely mummified and have been dated back to the 1800s.
Being that it is a non-denominational church and open to the public the cathedral prayer services are free but tours and tourists are asked to pay a small fee of 12 euros for the amazing and historic relics.
By Josh Harlan and Ellen Graham