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Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

History

Blessed Sacrament windowViking Dublin’s cathedral was built on this site c. 1030, and briefly became a cathedral priory under the Benedictines at the end of the 11th century. In 1162, the archbishop of Dublin, Laurence O’Toole (later canonised) introduced the canons regular of St Augustine to the cathedral where they remained until the Reformation. When Henry VIII broke from Rome, the Irish Church, however reluctantly, had to follow suit - and a majority of the bishops did. In Christ Church the last Augustinian prior, Robert Paynswick, became the first dean, and the chapter followed suit by changing from regular to secular.

Christian worship is the primary purpose of the cathedral and visitors of all denominations are welcome at our Sunday and weekday services (Anglican rite). The choral services are sung by the cathedral choir, which traces its origins to the choir school founded in 1480. Within the choir are the cathedral’s ten lay vicars choral (including, unusually, four sopranos). This choir is complemented by the cathedral girls’ choir, which was set up in 1995, to offer the girls of Dublin the special experience that is the privilege of a cathedral chorister.

 

Architecture

The present shape of the cathedral dates from the 1180s when a new programme of building was instigated under the first Anglo-Norman archbishop, John Comyn. An extended quire was added in the 14th century, and the collapse of the south wall of the nave in 1562 necessitated a temporary rebuilding, which lasted until the 1870s! George Edmund Street, one of the foremost Victorian architects of the time, undertook a complete restoration of Christ Church between 1871-8, at the expense of a Dublin whiskey distiller, Henry Roe, who gave 230,000 (23m today!) to save the cathedral.

As part of this restoration, Street transformed the cathedral and added an elegant bridge across the road to a new hall built for the General Synod of the Church of Ireland, today used for an exhibition about medieval Dublin called Dvblinia.

Attractions

Visit the newly restored medieval crypt and recently opened treasury exhibition, as well as the cathedral gift shop.

Photography is allowed in all parts of the cathedral and crypt.

Local Interest

Dublinia: http://www.dublinia.ie/
St Patrick's Cathedral: http://www.stpatrickscathedral.ie/index.aspx
Dublin Castle:http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/Dublin/DublinCastle/
City Hall: http://www.dublincity.ie/RecreationandCulture/MuseumsGalleriesandTheatres/CityHall/Pages/city_hall_hub.aspx