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Founded in 1028, Christ Church Cathedral and is one of Dublin’s oldest buildings and is the elder of the capital city's two medieval cathedrals, the other being St Patrick's Cathedral.
The church was built by King Sitric Silkenbeard on the high ground overlooking the Viking settlement at Wood Quay and was and originally a wooden building
In the 1180s, Strongbow and other Norman magnates helped to fund a complete rebuilding of Christ Church, in stone, comprising the construction of a choir, choir aisles and transepts, the crypt and chapels to St. Edmund and St. Mary and St. Lô. Further extensions were added over the centuries and the cathedral was extensively renovated and rebuilt from 1871 to 1878 by George Edmund Street.
In the medieval period the Cathedral was a major pilgrimage site, with an important collection of relics ranging from a miraculous speaking cross to a piece from the crib of Jesus. Today, it is still possible to see one of these relics, the heart of Laurence O’Toole, patron saint of Dublin.
Enjoy the walk around the medieval crypt where you will find the mummified Cat and Rat (know by locals as Tom and Jerry) they were found trapped behind the organ and preserved by the dry air of the cathedral. Also in the basement of the Cathedral is home to the cathedral shop and café.
You can also see the tomb of Strongbow - just inside the main doors. This is not the actual tomb of Strongbow but an effigy, the original tomb having been destroyed centuries ago though he is thought to buried somewhere within the church walls. There is a smaller effigy beside the Strongbow tomb of unknown origin. It's possible that this is either the original medieval Strongbow effigy, that of his lady wife, or his son.
During the New Year celebrations Dublin people and visitors will head to Christ Church Cathedral to hear the bells ring in the new year, this has been a tradition for many years. The cathedral's deployment of 19 bells, each ranging in weight from a quarter of a ton to two and a quarter tons, represents a world record of numbers of bells available for full-circle ringing. The oldest bells still in use at the cathedral date from 1738.
One of Irelands finest choirs is at the cathedral. This can be traced back to 1493 with the founding of the choir school. The choir in 1742 took part in the first ever performance of Handel’s Messiah
Christ church is open to the public with a small admissions fee. Opening times vary depending on the time of the year you would like to visit.
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