Exploring Dublin, Ireland – Part 1



Christ Church Cathedral is Dubin’s oldest church and is located in the heart of medieval city of Dublin.  The first wooden structure was built by Viking King Sitric in 1040.  This structure is a mix of Norman and Gothic architecture and more recently Victorian neo-Gothic from the 1870 restoration.

Looking down the nave of the cathedral toward the alter:  img_2487

The Chancel:img_2490

Looking toward the back of the cathedral:img_2489

The stain glass windows in the back:


In the cathedral’s crypt dates from the 11th century and is the largest in either Britain or Ireland and the oldest structure in Dublin.  It is unusual because it covers the whole church  and the several stone pillars carry the entire weight of the church building.

This stock is from 1670 and was originally in the church yard area.  Offenders who were ordered by the courts to sit in the stocks were locked in for a prescribed period of time.  People passing by often pelted the guilty with fruit and vegetables.


The cat and the rat:  These are mummified creatures that were found in the organ pipes during the restoration of the organ in 1860.  It is assumed that the cat was chasing the mouse and they got stuck in the pipe where they both died.  Kind of gory, no?img_2493

A moving sculpture that was on the grounds of Christ Church Cathedral.  As people walked by, it made them stop and ponder or maybe, say a prayer for the homeless and those who have to go from day to day.  It is a very thought provoking…..IMG_2485



This sign is found in the park near St Patrick’s Cathedral.  Long before there was a church here, it is believed that St Patrick baptized people who converted to Christianity.  In 1220 a small church was built to mark this sacred place.  

From 1220 to 1259, the original church was built.  Over time, it was added onto and in 1865 the Guinness family (of Guinness Beer fame) donated money for a major renovation of the cathedral.  St Patrick’s is the largest church in Ireland. img_2721

The west wing of the cathedral has this three paneled stain-glass window depicting St Patrick’s life.  img_2730

St Patrick was British and when he was 16, he was kidnapped by pirates and brought back to Ireland to be a slave.  For six years, he was a shepherd on a mountain in County Antrim.   During his enslavement, Patrick became deeply devoted to Christianity and prayed constantly.  He had visions of God where people were reaching their hands out to become Christians.  The idea of escaping slavery came to him in a dream and a voice promised that he would find his way home safely.  

He escaped and convinced sailors to let him on their boat.  They sailed for 3 days in abandoned the ship in France.  For 28 days, Patrick wandered through France and eventually made his way home.  As a free man, he returned to France to study religion for he never lost his vision of converting the Irish to Christianity.  In 431, Pope St. Celestine I consecrated St. Patrick Bishop of the Irish.  St Patrick returned to Ireland to spread the word of God to nonbelievers and provide support to the small Christian community already established.

As with most new and different ideas, St Patrick was met with resistance.  However, he continued to talk, write about the life of God and baptize people.  He also combined some of the pagan practices with church practices.  For example, the Celtic cross is St Patrick’s idea of combining the round symbol of the sun, that was an important part of pagan worship,  with the Christian cross.


An example of St Patrick’s cross combining the sun and the cross.

Today, St Patrick is Ireland’s Patron Saint and is honored around the world on St Patrick’s Day on March 17, which some believe was the day of his death. 

The inside of St Patrick’s Cathedral which is the National Cathedral of Ireland.  


The Lady Chapel was built in 1270 and was used by the Huguenot family from 1666 to 1816.  Today, the Lady Chapel is a place for one to have a place for quiet reflection and prayer.  It is a lovely spot in the cathedral. img_2734

There is an interesting story behind the door in this picture.  In 1492, there were two influential families in Ireland…the Butler family who lived in the Kilkenny Castle for 600 years and the FitzGerald family from the Kildare region.  James Black, who was the nephew to the Butler family was being pursued by the FitzGerald soldiers.  Black took sanctuary in St Patrick’s Cathedral.  He soon became surrounded by the soldiers and was clearly at a disadvantage.  img_2138

Although he could easily defeat James Black, Gearóid Mór FitzGerald who was Ireland’s premier earl at that time, was tired of the bloodshed and wanted an end to the feud.  FitzGerald tried negotiating and pleading with Black through this oak door for a peace settlement.  Black was suspicious of FitzGerald and rejected all that he was offering.

Out of frustration, FitzGerald had his soldier cut a hole in the door so he could extend his hand to shake with Jame Black to show that he was serious about the peace offering.  It was a risky venture as Black could have had one of his soldiers hack off the arm of Fitzgerald.  Instead, Black shook the extended hand and ended the dispute.

It is believed that this is where the saying “chance one’s arm” originated from.  Have you ever heard of this expression?  I hadn’t so I looked it up and it means to “take a risk in order to get what you want.”

It is an interesting story and I am impressed that a door from 1942 is still in such good shape.

img_2743This statue of St Patrick is unique as it is made up from three different pieces from three different centuries.  The body is from the 13th century, the head is from the 17th century and the base if from the 19th century.  It was put together during the restoration of the Cathedral in 1865.  img_2733

This is my “parting shot”.  I visited St Patrick’s on my last day in Dublin.  I am so grateful that I had the time to finally see the National Cathedral of Ireland.  It was quite beautiful and full of history.


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