Stunning and glamorous from outside, Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin takes you by surprise with its inside treasures. On top of its exquisite decor, Christ Church Cathedral contains the largest cathedral crypt in Ireland and Great Britain.
Last updated: January 9, 2023
Inside Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin (Photos Included)
After reading way too many recommendations on places to see in Dublin, I was certain that I needed to check out St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Later that day while wandering the streets of Dublin and seeing a stunning church from afar, I believed it was that highly-recommended cathedral. I was wrong. The stunning church in front of me was nothing else but Christ Church Cathedral.
After seeing both of these remarkable structures, I must disagree with the majority of those who insist on visiting just St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Not diminishing or denying the splendor of the latter, I was captivated by the medieval charm of Christ Church Cathedral.
I first admired the outstanding building from outside just to return a few days later and see more of its opulence. And here are some of the hidden treasures I found 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, many 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 the medieval art. It made it almost impossible to say which part of the interior of Christ Church belongs to which era.
One part of Dublin’s Christ Church, however, remained untouched during the 19th-century renovation. A massive crypt that dates back to the late 12th century with some parts of it tracing back from the 11th century still looks a lot like ages ago.
Apart from unveiling rich history of the building, the Christ Church Crypt is known as 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 in 20-30 minutes. I allotted almost entire afternoon (it was raining outside anyway) to fully enjoy the various monuments and historical artifacts of the 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, visit a small shop to discover Irish gifts and souvenirs. All proceeds from the shop go to support the religious institution.
I highly recommend these tours to everybody interested in historical and cultural heritage of Dublin.