Christchurch Cathedral is located within the bustling centre of Dublin city, and is the city’s oldest building. This medieval cathedral dates back to around 1028 but was rebuilt from 1172, and has been a place of spiritual worship and sanctuary for the people of Dublin throughout the years. Stepping through the doors you enter a place of prayer and reflection, with a lovely calming atmosphere.
The interior of the cathedral is stunning with its Gothic nave, secular carvings, exquisite floor tiles and stained glass windows. There are many areas to discover not least the intriguing medieval crypt, located beneath the cathedral, it is one of the biggest in Britain and Ireland. It is also the earliest surviving structure in the city. Housed here are interesting memorials including the mummified cat and the rat, the most unusual inhabitants here, locally they are called Tom and Jerry. The Treasury is an exhibition that displays manuscripts, the tabernacle and candlesticks used when James II worshipped here in 1969, as well other interesting artefacts.
Christ Church Cathedral was an important pilgrimage site during the medieval period, and has a valuable collection of relics including, an extraordinary speaking cross as well as a piece from the crib of Jesus.
The choir here is one of the most prestigious in the country, regularly performing in concerts, on tv and radio. The beginnings of the choir can be dated back to 1493 when it was initially founded, and has always been held in high esteem in Dublins musical life, they were involved in the first performance of Handel’s Messiah in Dublin in 1742. If you get the chance to hear them you will be mesmerised, they sing beautifully.
The Cathedral is open daily. To best way to get the most from your visit is to take a professionally guided tour where you will be taken through almost one thousand years of intricate and impressive history. You will also be taken to the Belfry where you are given the opportunity to ring the bells, from here you go down to the crypt, the oldest continuously used building in Dublin. Tours last about an hour and are restricted in numbers, they run frequently throughout the day. There is a paper guide available to explain the history and various aspects of this wonderful cathedral.
There is a lovely cafe where you can stop and get some refreshments and a nice gift shop too.