Initially built in 1038, the cathedral suffered several transformations until the Victorian period when they decided to restore it following its medieval characteristics.
Mixing some original details with pastiche, it keeps being a good example of medieval religious architecture.
So much has been written about Christchurch Cathedral i just like to point out a few facts that people may not be aware of.
The official name of Christ Church is The Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity
Much of the television series The Tudors was filmed here.
The heart of a 12th century Archbishop of Dublin, Laurence O'Toole is a relic that survived the Reformation.
In the crypt of the church you can find stocks dated from 1670. They have been stored there since 1870 when they were no longer used for punishment.
In the crypt you can see a mummified cat and rat who were found in the organ when it had ceased to function normally.
Before visiting Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, I wrongly assumed that it was a Roman Catholic Church. Also known formally as The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, the cathedral actually belongs to the Church of Ireland, or Anglican church though it has been through a litany of changes in both religious denomination and architecture style since its founding as a Viking church by Dúnán, the first bishop of Dublin and Sitriuc, Norse king of Dublin. Earliest records indicate a church has stood on this spot since 1030 A.D. During our visit, we found that excavated Viking artifacts had been embedded into the concrete walkways leading to the church as a reminder to both its members and visitors of today of Christ Church's past history.
The Christ Church Cathedral of the present has several important points of interest that include: a combination of several architectural styles; its especially interesting restored crypt or undercroft with displays of various artifacts from its connection to historical figures; and maybe most importantly, its history of being used as a setting for important historical events.
The early Gothic nave built about 1226, has a 68 ft. high vaulted ceiling supported by a series of Gothic arches rising from strikingly colorful, and varied designs of tiled floors --- the tiled floors being one of my favorite features of the church. It all combines for quite a lovely interior although my photos do not do it justice. Rather than being a dark, gloomy space, the whole interior was well-lit with both natural and man-made light. The soaring stained glass windows are one of the cathedral's most beautiful features although truthfully there are many such features including the sculpted pulpit, brass items, the baptismal font, and even the delicate arches with just a bit of elegance which separate the chancel/altar/choir area from the nave. The cathedral's website states that "The choir sings Evensong four times a week during term time," however times vary.
I particularly liked the look of the enclosed crossover bridge or passage which spanned Winetavern Street and connected the main church to another building which was once the synod house though I believe this was not open to the public.
The 12th-century crypt, probably the largest in Europe, and its niches are interesting although the light there is not conducive or favorable to the many historical objects presented there so that they really can be enjoyed. It was surprising to find a small gift shop in the crypt but not as surprising as finding a cafe which served scones and desserts with tea or coffee. Restrooms are located in a corner of the crypt as well but are just tiny individual rooms carved from rock.
Photography is allowed everywhere the public is allowed in the cathedral though my photos were disappointing to say the least! The cathedral is open every day except for December 26th. There is an admission charge for the cathedral, though admission was included with our overall tour. Admission (2015 prices): 6 Euros for adults; Concessions: 4.50 Euros; 2 Euros for children under 16 yrs; family packages: 2 adults and 2 children under 16 yrs: 15 Euro.
Hours vary upon the season and day of the week, but generally are Monday to Saturday, 9am - 7pm in April through September.
After roughly an hour or so at Christ Church, we returned to the Temple Bar area to wander at will. Feeling quite hungry by this point, we wandered into Leo Burdock's restaurant for some very tasty fish and chips.
We walked across the bridge from Dublinia to the Christ Church Cathedral. It was a pleasant experience as there are a good number of interesting stain glass windows on the bridge and walk way. You should note you cannot walk from the Cathedral to the Museum!
During our visit, there was a choir rehearsing for an afternoon performance - the Herndon Ecumenical Choir, who it was advertised were "Presenting a programme of sacred & spiritual works". They sounded quite good from what we heard.
There is an admission charge for the cathedral, unless you are attending a service of worship.
Christ Church Cathedral is a must see for any tourist trip to Dublin. I will not go into the detail of the history of the the church, as that's pretty much the point of visiting and partaking in the tours on offer. Needless to say, that for a church founded in c. 1030, there is plenty of history and information held within its walls.
I do recommend going into the crypt of the church where there is no shortage of artifacts on display, even a mummified cat and rat!!
The entrance fee was €6, with the option of paying an extra €4 for a tour of the bell tower. We paid the extra, and were very happy that we did. The tour lasts about 30 minutes and gives some more detail about the history of the church, and in particular the rivalry with St. Patricks Cathedral. You are also given a lesson in bell ringing and given the chance to rings the bells in the Cathedral.. which is not as easy as you may first think!
Christ Church Cathedral rises impressively from the streetscape of Dublin. The precinct of the Cathedral also housed an Augustinian prior before the Protestant Reformation, the ruins of which can be seen immediately outside the front doors. The interior of Christ Church contains a great deal of medieval "building fabric," but what visitors see of the exterior is largely the result of a massive 19th Century Victorian-era "restoration" that was completely under the supervision of promient English church architect G. E. Street (1824-1881). Street used almost 4000 tons of Caen limestone in re-facing the Cathedral. Happily, there are still plenty of signs of its origins in the Early Romanesque style, particularly the narrow pointed windows in the nave, and the short squat tower at the crossing.
According to the official Christ Church Cathedral Visitor's Guide, "the chancel contains little of Pre-Victorian date. Three 12th century arches have been retained, those cast of the crossing "in situ," and that over the eastern arch removed from the north side of the old long quire. . . The remainder of the chancel is pure fantasy on Street's part, and enjoyable at that."
Oh - and a lot of "The Tudors" miniseries was filmed here, both many of the "church scenes" as well a variety of others that were filmed in the crypt.
Established by king Sitric and Dublin's first bishop, Dunan, Christ Church Cathedral is one of the city's oldest buildings and main landmarks. Rebuilt it the late 12th century, it fell into disrepair and had to be extensively renovated by George Street seven centuries later. The crypt's restoration had to wait even longer - till the year 2000.
Once inside, the highlights are:
- Great Nave, which is over 25 meters high, and with fragments of the 12th century building's walls. One of the walls has an incline of over half a meter from having to support the weight of the roof
- Strongbow Monument, although most historians believe the image is actually not that of Strongbow himself. That said, as Strongbow is buried in the Cathedral, you never know
- The Crypt, restored in 2000. Today it houses most of the Cathedral's artistic treasures. A big chunk of the Cathedral's current collection has been gifted by the British King William III in celebration of a military victory
This is Dublins oldest stone building and was built on the site of the wooden church of king Sitric Silkenbeards (1038).
A church was commissioned here by Richard de Clare in 1172.
During the 16th and 17th centuries the crypt was used as a market, meeting place and a pub.
After Henry VIII broke with Rome became the first dean of Christ Church in 1541.
In 1562 the nave roof collapsed leaving the cathedral in ruins. Temporary measures to the fallen roof remained in place until 1870 until Henry Roe, a local whisky distiller, paid architect George Edmund Street to restore the church.
Restoration work took place in the 1980's and 1990's including the crypt.
The exhibition "Treasures of Christ Church" reflects a 1000 years of history, worship and architecture in
christ church cathedral was established by the hiberno-norse king silkbeard. the church was rebuilt in 1186 by archbishop john cumin and again in 1870 by architech george street. for those interested in history and gothic architecture this beautiful church is a must see site in dublin.
Christchurch is unmissable, and no, I dont mean the one in New Zealand.
It was built during the Viking era (900-1000 AD) and there is now a Viking exhibition across the street from Christchurch that you can visit.
here's a crappy photo of the roof, i couldnt get it all into the camera viewfinder :)
One of the cities main churches. A church was first built on this site by the Norse King Sitric in 1038 but being made of wood it didn't last too long.
On my most recent trip to Dublin we actually went inside and had a look around the main cathedral as well as down in the crypt. You get given an information sheet/map that points out items and areas of interest with some explanation which makes it more interesting. If you are here keep an eye out for the mummified cat and mouse. They were found trapped behind an organ, presumably mid chase!
Entry was 5 Euro but free with a Dublin Pass
The earliest manuscript dates Christ Church cathedral to its present location around 1030. By 1152 it was incorporated into the Irish church.
Laurence O’Toole acted directly in diplomatic efforts between the Dubliners and the Anglo-Normans including Strongbow (Richard de Clare) following the capture of the city in 1170. In 1395 King Richard II sat in state in the cathedral to receive homage from the kings of the four Irish provinces O'Neill of Ulster, McMurrough of Leinster, O'Brien of Munster and O'Connor of Connacht. In 1487 Lambert Simnel, pretender to the English throne in the reign of Henry VII was ‘crowned’ in Christ Church as Edward VI.
In the sixteenth century, reform again came from England when Henry VIII broke from Rome. In 1562, the nave roof vaulting collapsed and Strongbow’s tomb was smashed, the current tomb being a contemporary replacement from Drogheda. The cathedral was in ruins and emergency rebuilding took place immediately. This temporary solution lasted until the 1870s! In 1689 King James attended Mass. One year later, returning from the Battle of the Boyne on 6 July 1690, King William III gave thanks for his victory over King James II and presented a set of gold communion plate to the cathedral.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Christ Church’s crypt was used as a market, a meeting place for business, and at one stage even a pub.
In 1742 the cathedral choir together with the choir of St Patrick’s cathedral sang at the world premiere of Handel's Messiah in nearby Fishamble Street.
The Church Temporalities Act of 1833 brought partial disendowment and impoverished what had been one of the wealthiest ecclesiastical corporations in Ireland.
The cathedral as it exists today is heavily Victorianised due to the extensive restorations and renovations carried out by the architect George Edmund Street (between 18718) at the expense of a Dublin whiskey distiller, Henry Roe, who gave £230,000 (£23m today!) to save the cathedral.