Christ Church Cathedral – A Thousand Years of History

Christ Church Cathedral

Situated in one of the oldest parts of Dublin on high ground is Christ Church Cathedral. A place of worship and pilgrimage for nearly 1,000 years it’s also now one of Dublin’s top tourist attractions. Although nominally the seat of both the Protestant and Catholic archbishops of Dublin, in law it is the cathedral of only the Church of Ireland’s archbishop of Dublin.

Medieval Dublin
Christ Church Cathedral is right in the heart of old medieval Dublin and with its original wooden structure built by the Viking King Sitric Silkenbeard around 1030. By 1152 it was incorporated into the Irish Church , and by the 1180s the Church was rebuilt in stone with help in funding by Strongbow and the other Normans. Major extensions including an organ were added to the Church in the mid 1350’s

Reformation Period
With King Henry VIII splitting from the Roman Church, the Cathedral had a new structure with Robert Castle becoming its first dean. In 1562 the roof of the vault collapsed smashing Strongbow’s grave. The ‘temporary’ repairs lasted until the 1870’s when the next major building work to the Church was performed.

Modern Era
The Church now is heavily Victorianised due to the extensive renovations carried out in the late 19th Century by architect George Edmund Street. Further works were done in the 1980’s and 1990’s including a new organ, heating systems and renovation to the large crypt.

Among various items you can seen in the Church are the oldest known secular carvings in Ireland, candlesticks from when the Church briefly returned to Roman teachings for a short period post Reformation, the old stocks used for punishment and many historic books and altar items. You can also explore the large 12th Century crypt. Christ Church Cathedral has 19 bells (a world record!). You can ring one of the bells under guided supervision. Its rich musical history is complemented by one of Irelands finest choirs.
The Church is open all year round except 26th December, check the website for opening hours.
Getting there: Bus 13, 27, 40, 49, 77a, 123. Train: Heuston and Tara Street Stations are about 15 mins walk away. LUAS: Close to the Four Courts stop.

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