Christ Church Cathedral

Dublin has 2 main cathedrals. Christ Church Cathedral and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral as well as a Pro-Cathedral – St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral (a churche serving as an interim Cathedral in Marlborough Street, in Dublin). The main cathedrals are popular as sights among visitors to Dublin providing a historical context for Dublin life from as far back as the 11th century medieval period.

Christ Church Cathedral (or, more formally known as, The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity) is the elder of the Dublin’s two medieval cathedrals, the other being St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It is officially claimed as the seat (cathedra) of both the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic archbishops of Dublin although in law and in fact it is the cathedral of only the Church of Ireland's Archbishop of Dublin since the English Reformation.

Christ Church Cathedral is located in the former heart of medieval Dublin, next to Wood Quay at the end of Lord Edward Street, behind new civil offices along the quays.

The Cathedral was used as a backdrop to the hit drama "the Tudors" and many original costumes worn by Maria Doyle Kennedy (Catherine of Aragon) and Jonathon Rhys Myers (King Henry) are available on view within the crypt.

Founded probably sometime after 1028 the Cathedral’s first bishop of the new Dublin diocese was Dúnán or Donat, and the diocese was at that time a small island of land surrounded by the much larger diocese of Glendalough. The church was built on the high ground overlooking the Viking settlement at Wood Quay and King Sitric gave the "lands of Baldoyle, Raheny and Portrane for its maintenance."

Christ Church was converted to a priory by the second Archbishop of Dublin, later saint, Laurence O’Toole at which time it became the wealthiest religious house in Ireland, holding over 10,000 acres (40 km2) of property in County Dublin alone.

During the Norman period Henry II attended the Christmas service at the cathedral in 1171. King Henry received Holy Communion at that service the first following the murder of Thomas Beckett by Henry's knights in Canterbury.

In the 1180s, Strongbow and other Normans helped to fund a complete rebuilding of Christ Church, initially a wooden building, in stone.

In 1480 the wealthy judge William Sutton left all his lands and silver to the Cathedral.

The cathedral was the location of the purported coronation, in 1487, of Lambert Simnel, a boy pretender who sought unsuccessfully to depose Henry VII of England as "King Edward VI".

The cathedral was extensively renovated and rebuilt from 1871 to 1878, with the sponsorship of distiller Henry Roe of Mount Anville. Roe had a distillery nearby. The cost of tgat renovation was equivalent in today's value to euros 26 million.

Christ Church also contains the largest cathedral crypt (63.4m long) in Britain or Ireland, constructed in 1172-1173. Having been renovated in the early 2000s, it is now open for visitors. It houses the Dublinia exhibition about medieval Dublin in its Synod Hall.

Opening Hours:

Monday-Saturday

March and October - 9.30-18.00

April - September - 9.30-19.00

November to February - 9.30-17.00

Sunday

March and October - 12.30-14.30 /16.30-18.00

April - September - 12.30 – 14.30 /16.30 – 19.00

November - February - 12.30-14.30

Please note: Last admission is 45 minutes before closing.

On Wednesdays and Thursdays during term time where the Cathedral Choir or the Girl Choristers are singing evensong the cathedral will have last entry at 17.15 in order to prepare.

The Cathedral is open every day except the 26th of  December. No charges are made for those who come to join worship or who wish to pray privately. Everyone is welcome.

Please note there may be some restricted access due to services and events so please check for alterations prior to your visit. You can find out more information about service times.

 

Georgian Dublin

As you walk through the leafy areas of Dublin from the Mews you will inevitably stumble across the grand older buildings that stand out from today’s time and bring you back to times gone by.

These buildings have a certain nobility distinguished in particular by their brick and stone, doorways and windows…what you are witnessing is known as "Georgian Dublin",  an architecture style from the reign of four King Georges between 1714 and 1830.

This period of time coincided with a golden period of prosperity for Dublin; from the economic wealth of trade created by the newly dominant British Empire at that time when Dublin grew to become the fifth largest city in Europe.

Dublin was considered the "second city" of the Empire after London.

This was a new and emerging Dublin under the influence of Wolfe Tone, Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, as well as the Lords and Ladies of the Ascendancy, the protestant ruling class of the time who used their wealth to create new busildings for education, admisistration and residence shifting the old medieval city into broad streets, large green squares and a new uniformly impressive houses using brick and stone.

James Gandon was a famous architect of the time and his buildings included Dublin City Hall (adjacent to Dublin Castle), The Custom House, The Four Courts and  King's Inn. 

In the beginning of the Georgian period,areas of the North side of the river Liffey  was considered to be far more fashionable than the south. Henrietta Street is perhaps the most famous Georgian residential influence at that time with a wide cobbled street lived in by Dublin's barristers who attended  King's Inn. Parnell Square, known as Rutland Square back then, at the top of now O'Connell Street (formerly Sackville Street)  was very popular but not as popular as the prestigious Mountjoy Square, where the Archbishop of Dublin lived.

The Earl of Kildare famously pulled rank by building a palatial home for himself on the south of the river - “Kildare House" - which was later renamed Leinster House and now houses the Irish Government. In doing so Lord Kildare set to tone for Dublin’s south to become Dublin’s most prestigious area which it still is to this day. His move was followed by the development of Merrion Square facing right onto Leinster House and the National Gallery of Ireland. Fitzwilliam Square a somewhat quieter square along with Fitzwilliam Place and Street came next. St Stephen's Green, despite accommodating much smaller Georgian houses is notably, the most well-known of the Dublin's Georgian squares today 

And so it was that throughout the 18th century, the Elite lived in these areas served busily by servants, merchants and professionals until the end of Dublin’s Golden Age when the London government rescinded the limited Home Rule that had allowed the Protestant Ascendancy of Dublin to enjoy their own parliament. The transfer of power to London following the Act of Union in 1801 meant Dublin lost its importance and many of the elite moved to London taking the economic value of their needs being served elsewhere 

Whilst Irish neutrality in the war protected Dublin’s Georgian buildings some damage was done in the 1916 revolution and civil war. Once becoming independent in 1922many of Ireland new ruling class looked on Georgian buildings as a symbol and reminder of Ireland’s colonial pastholding the nation back. Property developers were later allowed to pull these buildings down to make way for the new. Today these buildings are understood to be valuable as part of Dublin's heritage and many are protected under law.

Georgian architecture worth a visit in Dublin include – Henrietta Street, Merrion Square, Trinity College, National Gallery of Ireland.

 

 

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