Stunning and glamorous from outside, Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin takes you by surprise with its inside treasures. Besides exquisite decor, Christ Church Cathedral contains the largest cathedral crypt in Ireland and Great Britain.
Inside Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin
After reading way too many recommendations of places to see in Dublin, I was certain I needed to check out St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Even when wandering the streets of Dublin and seeing a stunning church from afar, I believed it was that highly-recommended cathedral. I was wrong. That stunning church was nothing else but Christ Church Cathedral.
After seeing both of these remarkable cathedrals, I must disagree with the majority of those blog posts insisting on visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Not denying the splendor of the latter, medieval and Victorian charm of Christ Church got all my attention. And here is my humble overview of treasures inside Christ Church Cathedral.
LET’S STEP INSIDE CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL IN DUBLIN:
Christ Church is the oldest building in continuous use in Dublin. The foundation of the cathedral is closely tied with King Sitric Silkenbeard, the Hiberno-Norse king of Dublin. In the early 11th century the king made a pilgrimage to Rome and became inspired to erect a cathedral in his homeland. The religious institution came to life around 1030. Originally a wooden structure, Anglo-Norman magnates completely rebuilt Christ Church in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The latest largest renovation took place from 1871 to 1878. During this time, lots of medieval parts of the cathedral were demolished. Instead, Victorian architectural style left a heavy mark on the religious establishment. And though the massive renovation saved Christ Church from decay and eventual collapse, it brought serious changes to the style of the building. Victorian pastiches replaced many medieval parts of the cathedral. It made it almost impossible to depict which part of the interior of Christ Church belongs to which era.
One part of the Christ Church Cathedral, however, remained untouched during the 19th century renovation. The massive crypt of Christ Church dates back to the late 12th century with parts of it tracing back from the 11th century.
Apart from unveiling history of the building, Christ Church Crypt is the largest cathedral crypt in Ireland and Great Britain. If time is not on you side, you can rush through these old labyrinths and explore them within 20 to 30 minutes. Otherwise, allot enough time to fully enjoy various monuments and historical features of Christ Church Crypt.
The highlight of the crypt is the Treasure with a collection of manuscripts and books including Christ Church’s copy of Magna Carta. The cathedral is also home to the oldest known secular carvings in Ireland. Additionally, the crypt contains such a feature as The Cat and The Rat, mummified remains of a cat and rat. Both of them were found inside one of the cathedral’s organ pipes in the late 19th century.
Before leaving the crypt of Christ Church Cathedral, visit a small shop to discover Irish gifts and souvenirs. All proceeds from the gift shop go to support the cathedral.