I will admit that the main reason I stopped by St. Michan’s church in Dublin was to visit the below level crypt, and see their mummies. Yes, there are legitimate mummy’s in Dublin and I did get the opportunity to not only see them, but to touch a mummy finger. I have seen a few macabre places in my life including the Bone Chapel in Czech Republic, but this was the first and only time that I touched a mummy’s hand.
If given the opportunity then why not? Although our guide said to touch the hand delicately because they were brittle, and I would not want anything breaking off. Right, I would have lost it if that happened. So I delicately gave the mummy’s’ finger a slight rub, and it felt like soft leather. It was one of the most bizarre travel moments in my life.
The crypts of St. Michan’s contain limestone in the walls, which creates ideal conditions for preservation with its dry air. There are several mummified remains here including the 400-year-old body of a nun, a six-and-a-half-foot man popularly believed to have been a crusader, a body with its feet and right hand severed, and brothers Henry and John Sheares, who took part in the 1798 rebellion.
In the last few years, there had unfortunately been damages done to the mummified remains by vandals; once in 1996 and again in 2019. The Archdeacon David Pierpoint had told the media after the 2019 vandalism that the 400 year old nun had been desecrated, as well as the 800 year old ‘crusader’ was decapitated. I had gone prior to the 2019 vandalism, so I was fortunate to visit the mummies intact.
St. Michan’s Church itself has an impressive history dating back almost 1,000 years. It was originally constructed on an early site of a Norse chapel from 1095, and served as a Catholic church until the Reformation. The current building dates back to the reconstruction in 1686, and serves the protestant Church of Ireland in Dublin for over 300 years. St. Michan’s is also the only church located on the north side of the Liffey river, which has survived from a Viking foundation.
The interior of the church is quite impressive with beautiful woodwork throughout the building, as well as a magnificent organ that dates back to 1724. It is said that Handel composed his Messiah on this organ.
St. Michan’s Visitor Information:
The tours cost €7 and run:
- Monday to Friday: 10:00 to 12:30 and then from 14:00 to 16:30
- Saturday: 10:00 to 12:30
- Sundays and bank holidays: No tours run
Full guided tours of vaults with tour guide. Guide leaflets in various languages. Gift shop with books, postcards and souvenirs.
Address: Church Street, Dublin City, Co Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Once a year, go someplace you have never been before…– Dali Lama
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre (mummy photo exception)