Christ Church Cathedral – One of my favorite spots in Dublin

Those regular and careful readers might remember that I like churches, cathedrals, castles, towers, and bridges… Actually, I like big buildings in general. Still, if someone told me that one of my favourite places in Dublin will be Christchurch cathedral I would laugh. Loud. “The Church” maybe (as it’s a pub) but not the proper cathedral.

Well, there are reasons why, obviously. Churches in Ireland are usually surrounded by lovely parks and in those lovely parks different things are happening from time to time. So, Christ Church Cathedral allowed a nearby coffee shop to use their park as an open terrace last year.


So far this year, it was used for something totally different. Dublin Garden Festival was held in and around Christ Church. This year’s festival theme was “Open Your Imagination” and the church was transformed into a magical floral wonderland, inspired by fairy tales.

Nice weather over the weekend and a great program attracted many visitors and made it a success. Foods from around the globe, jams and chutneys, corn dogs, fancy chips on the stick, free samples of pulled pork, cakes and home made sweets, and many more were available for hungry visitors, and local handmade souvenirs, books, plants, soaps and jewellery once you were well fed.


In case that you arrived with kids there were domestic animals to entertain them and volunteers willing to explain everything about how those animals live and what is their purpose on this world.

Beside locals, many tourists got attracted by this occasion and we witnessed one funny situation with them. A couple, mid thirties I’d say, from across the pond held a weird conversation. So, take a look at the following photo.


Person one: Wooooooooooowwww, What Is It?

Person two: I don’t know, I’ve neeeeeever seen such animal?

Person one: Is it a horse?

Person two: Noooo, to small, I think it’s alpaca?

Person one: Could be alpaca…

And then just a few seconds later:

Both of them, quite loud: OH Nooooo, It’s a Donkeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy!

Well, I was not really sure what they were looking at? I was definitely hanging out with a donkey. 🙂

Walking the gardens around the church I’ve noticed a sign – “Belfry guided tour in 15 minutes”. If my English is correct, I said, that means we have an opportunity to climb up the Christ Church tower! We are going in! 🙂

When we entered the church it was more obvious that the theme is “Alice in Wonderland” since some weird objects were displayed and you will not find them usually in the cathedrals. 🙂


We had couple of choices and, as Alice would do, we decided to see them all. It was really a nice experience, as the church looked totally different, warmer and fun. 😉


As guided tour included a whole tour around the church we learned a lot about it; when it was built, then re-built, repaired, then repaired again, when the well known quire started to perform here, when the new organs were brought in, when the old ones are replaced and cleaned, how and when the relic was stolen from the cathedral and many more useful information. We learned as well that majority of tiles are not originals but a well refurbished copy of medieval tiles done to resemble originals back in 1871. There is one small part with originals from 13th century.


On tiles you can notice a depicting pair of foxes, or actually, pair of fox monks. Those are interesting as monks were depicted as animals, which was not usual at a time, and it led to a “logo” of Christ Church, which is now on every chair in the church. 🙂

Anyway, when we’ve seen an heard a lot from the main floor, we moved toward the top of the bell tower. Even though I expected to see more, it seems that no one is allowed to approach all the way to the bells. Luckily I managed to pass through the really small doors that lead on the church roof.


On the way to the bell-room we had to pass across the roof so we still did get a chance to take a few photos from above. 🙂


Inside the belfry we learned that a completely different, at a time unique way of ringing bells is installed in this church, where the bell spins for almost 360 degrees, and where its weight and gravity are used to turn 2.5 tons heavy bells around easily.

As you can see from the picture, we even had a chance to annoy neighbours around the place. 🙂


Once we’ve finished with the bells we moved underground. Crypt under the church once held many bodies that were removed and returned to families during the latest restoration works in 2000. Our tour guide said that it was quite weird and unusual contacting families and asking if they are willing to take the remains of their relatives who died 500-600 years ago.

Since the crypt restoration it contains different artefacts, and just recently a copy of Magna Carta from 14th century can be seen there. For those who are not familiar with it, Magna Carta is considered as the most important legal document which introduced well known “law is the same for everyone, including priests” and “all subjects have a right to a free trial.” This is quite an important historical document, and at the time it was first sent from London to Dublin, so in a way it belongs to this crypt.

As far as I understood, this will be permanently in Dublin so in case that you are interested you know where to find it.


While we were on the ground floor, our lovely guide told us a true story about the old organ, that used to be in function in this church for hundred years. Mentioned instrument worked fine except they’ve noticed that one pipe is silent. During one of the maintenance works they first pulled out a mummified body of a cat, which was weird and they expected the pipe to be freed now, but it did not. Just a few cm deeper another mummified animal was found. Mummified rat explained what happened here. Cat chased a rat and they both got stuck in the organ pipes.

These two mummies were kept and are displayed in the crypt, but they even ended up in “Finnegans Wake” – a novel by James Joyce and in the end those two are the most famous attractions in the cathedral.


They are known as “Tom and Jerry”, and apparently there are people visiting Dublin solely to see them.

And with “Tom and Jerry” we finished our tour but that was not the end of cathedral sightseeing. A Japanese piano master held a concert so we enjoyed the sound of grand piano for a while.

I was nice so I recorded 2 minutes for your ears too.

With it, I’ll let you re-think should you come and see Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. Pubs are not the only thing this city has to offer. 🙂

Till the next post.

Love, Balky

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