Seasons greetings! As we continue our journey into Irish culture, it would be rude of me to not mention religion. Religion is very important to one’s identity. Religion can bind societies and communities together, which is very prevalent in the Irish culture. One of the religious structures that I was fortunate enough to visit was Christ Church Cathedral. Christ Church Cathedral, which is more formally known as The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, is the cathedral of the United Dioceses of Dublin in the (Anglican) Church of Ireland. According to the Cathedral’s website, it is considered Dublin’s oldest “working structure” and the spiritual heart of the city. It was established around 1030 by Dúnán, the first Bishop of Dublin and Sitriuc, the Norse King of Dublin.
The church was incorporated into the Irish church in 1152, and the famous archbishop, now saint, Laurence O’Toole soon was appointed there as the second Archbishop of Dublin. He played an essential role in uniting the Dubliners and the Anglo-Normans after the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century. As you could imagine, the relationship between the two groups was very strained. O’Toole was such an essential part of the negotiations that his heart is on display in the church in a reliquary. It was actually stolen 6 years ago and only returned to Christ Church Cathedral in April 2018. The Irish community never stopped looking for the stolen artifact because it is a priceless treasure that ties the Cathedral’s founding father to its present foundation. St. Laurence O’Toole is venerated in both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland.
Along with the extraordinary history of the church, the architecture cannot be ignored. Inside the cathedral, there are steps that lead down to a huge underground room that stretches the length of the building. This kind of room in a church is called a crypt and is often used for burials or chapels. During the seventeenth- century, it was reportedly divided into shops and taverns. Not only is the heart of Laurence O’Toole located in the church, inside the cathedral is the tomb of Strongbow. Strongbow was the Norman knight who came to Ireland with the Kind of Leinster. It was believed that he started the rule of the Normans in Ireland. His tomb shows a knight with a shield who is dressed for battle, and his hands are joined and legs are crossed.
This Victorian structure is breathtaking and holds such an important part of Irish history. Its bells could be heard all through central Dublin. I’m sure if we listen hard enough, we could hear them at the Mount!
So, come and ring those church bells with me on this week’s blog. Don’t forget you can check me out every Thursday! Make sure you follow @msmutravels for exclusive sneak peeks. We’re on fall break next week, so make sure you check back the week of October 14 to see what kind of craic I have on break. Have a great day!