In Viking times a small wooden church already stood at the location of today‘s Christ Church Cathedral. Starting from 1172 the cathedral in the heart of the medieval Dublin got its present structure under the direction of Archbishop Laurence O‘Toole and the Norman knight Richard de Clare, also known as Strongbow. Today it‘s difficult to say which parts of Ireland‘s oldest cathedral are still from medieval times, as the cathedral was refurbished fundamentally between 1871 and 1878 and also between 1980 and 1982. Definitely originally preserved is the crypt, Dublin’s oldest surviving structure, whose massive stone pillar holds the complete weight of the cathedral and the main tower. The crypt hosts an exhibition with important monuments from the history of Christ Church Cathedral. Including curiosities like the mummified cat and rat that got stuck in an organ pipe – one catching the other- and died painfully. Also accommodated in the crypt is a small cafe which can be booked for events.
The wonderful floor mosaics and the elegant stained-glass windows attract attention while visiting the cathedral and give the building a special atmosphere. East of the chancel there is the Lady Chapel and the Peace Chapel. Every day at noon a prayer for peace is held in the last-mentioned. On the south side of the nave you can see a replica of Strongbow’s coffin. This place was very important to Dublin merchants, as they traditionally used the venue to sign contracts- with Strongbow as a their “witness”. When the cathedral‘s south wall tumbled down and buried the tomb, a reproduction of it was needed quickly. It is believed that an old fragment at the bottom of the present coffin originates from Strongbow‘s first tomb.