CChrist Church Cathedral in Dublin serves as the central house of worship for the Church of Ireland (Anglican) diocese of Dublin and Glendalough. In fact, it was the main state church until 1871. For over a thousand years, the building has remained a bastion of Protestantism in the mainly Roman Catholic southern part of Ireland.
The medieval core of the church stands inside a Victorian shell, but Sitric "Silkbeard", King of Dublin and the first bishop, Dunan, established the original building. The seat of Irish bishops since the times of the Vikings, the cathedral was rebuilt circa 1186 by Archbishop John Cumin, and again in 1562 following a huge building collapse. Christ Church Cathedral underwent further renovation during the 1870s by George Street. Today's visitors enjoy many interesting features, including:
- The early Gothic nave, built circa 1226. Its 68 -foot high ceiling is arranged in a series of gothic arches. The original roof was so heavy that it caused the north wall (an original part of the structure) to lean outward as much as 18 inches in certain areas.
- The recently restored crypt survives from the 12th-century and contains a collection of valuable decorated plates presented as a gift by William III in celebration of victory at the Battle of Boyne in 1690, as well as an interesting collection of remains of the departed.
- The medieval lectern - a handcrafted item made of brass during the Middle Ages, it decorates the north side of the nave, near the pulpit.
- The Lord Mayor's Pew - kept in the north aisle except when used by dignitaries, when it is moved to the front of the nave. It is carved with the city arms and has an official mace kept in its stand.
- Strongbow Monument - the figure, complete with chain armor, represents the image of a warrior - but probably does not depict the man himself. Strongbow's actual remains, however, were interred somewhere at the site of Christ Church Cathedral, so the monument may be a part of his original tomb.
- Chapel of St. Laud - this chapel honors the patron saint of Dublin, who died in 1180. It contains original tiles, crafted in medieval times, as well as a wall casket that holds St. Laurence O' Toole's heart. He was the patron saint of Dublin, and died in 1180.
- The Romanesque doorway that enters on the south transept is known for its intricate Irish stonework from the 12th century
- The building next door to the cathedral houses Dublinia, where an exhibition tells the story of Dublin's history via multimedia presentations about the medieval city, and Strongbow's part in its development. It displays a model depicting Dublin's appearance circa 1500. From the top of St. Michael's tower, glorious views of the city can be had.
Image by Etrusia UK