St. Audoen’s is the only medieval parish church, with any original features, still in use in Dublin. Situated on the north side of High Street, in medieval Dublin, the church was built by the Normans in the 12th century and dedicated to St. Audoen of Rouen. It was one of the leading churches in Dublin in its time. The west door probably dates to around 1200 AD, but much of the church is from the 17th century. Only of the nave of the original church dating to the first half of the 13th century remains; new windows were fitted into it in the 15th century.
St. Andrews Church was once the centre of a Church of Ireland parish. St. Andrews Parish is one of the oldest parishes in the city, dating back to the 11th century. The present builidng was built in 1866 but there has been a church on the site since 1665. The present building is the third St. Andrew’s Church and there is a rich and complicated history attached to the church and the site. Saint Andrews was sold by the Church of Ireland in 1994, and it is now Dublin’s main Tourist Information Centre. It is located in Suffolk Street near Trinity College.
St. Werburgh’s Church which is situated near Christchurch Cathedral in the Liberties area of the city was built in the 12th Century and it was named after the King of Merica’s daughter. The original church was burned down in 1300 and rebuilt. A further rebuliding of the church was carried out after a fire in 1754. In the eighteenth century St. Werburgh’s became the parish church of the British Lord Lieutenant where he had his own Viceregal pew. The pew register for this church lists many prominent people of Dublin public life in that time.
Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church of Saint Valentine was built on the site of a Medieval Carmelite Priory but nothing remains of the original building. The present church was started in 1825 and there were further extensions in 1856 and 1868. The church contains the remains of St Valentine given by Pope Gregory XVI to Fr Spratt in 1835. St Valentine’s feast fell on February 14th but the romantic associations with St. Valentine’s Day probably have their origins in older pagan rituals which were held on that date.
St. Mary’s Chapel of Ease, which is better known as the Black Church is situated in Dorset Street and was built in 1830 to the design of John Semple. Although the exterior is dark grey the name ‘The Black Church’ is thought to have originated due to the darkness of the interior which is caused by the building’s narrow windows. The story goes that a person walking anti-clockwise with eyes closed, two or three times around the church at midnight, saying the ‘Hail Mary’ backwards will meet the Devil. The Black Church is mentioned in the novel ‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce.
St. Michan’s Church in Church Street in Dublin is best known for its Viking origins, its 18th-century organ, and the well-preserved corpses in the crypt. Founded in about 1095 by the Danish colony in Oxmanstown, the present church dates from about 1685 and was restored in 1998. The interior of St. Michan’s is famous for its woodwork, a large organ from 1724 on which Handel is believed to have played his Messiah and a chalice dating from 1516. But the main highlight is the burial vault underneath the church. Because of the dry conditions, centuries-old bodies interred here remain remarkably preserved. The most famous body is that of the Crusader, believed to have been a soldier returned from the Crusades.
Christ Church Cathedral in one of the oldest parts of Dublin is one of the city’s finest historic buildings. The first Christian Danish king, Sitric, built a church at this site in 1038. The present cathedral was begun in 1172 after the conquest of Dublin by Strongbow and continued into the 13th century. Part of the cathedral collapsed and was rebuilt in the 17th century. Architecturally, it is famous for its Norman crypt and for the arcading of the nave which is considered to be the finest example in the country. Henry II attended the Christmas service at the cathedral in 1171. Strongbow’s tomb in Christ Church was wrecked when the wall and roof collapsed in 1562. A monument to Strongbow was restored in the same place in 1570.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland. The site of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is said to be where St. Patrick baptized some of Ireland’s early Christian converts. A wooden church stood on the site from the 5th century to about 1191 when the church was given the status of cathedral and work on the present building continued between 1191 and 1270. Much of the present building originates from the 1870s when a major reconstruction took place. Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, was Dean of St. Patricks from 1713 – 45.
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