Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ireland, Day 16: Southwest Dublin, Part 2

With limited time remaining in Ireland, Ed and I referred to the list of places we still wanted to visit, and decided to head back to southwest Dublin and the Liberties, where we had spent much of our day yesterday. We first stopped off at St. Patrick's Cathedral. The Normans built a church in stone on this site in 1191; the current church dates from 1220, and was granted cathedral status in 1224.

There were some impressive monuments, including the Boyle Monument; the chair used by King William III when he came to St. Patrick's to give thanks to God or his victory over King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690; and a stone found in June 1901, six feet below the surface of the traditional site of St. Patrick's Well, 91 feet due north from the north west angle of the tower. This stone was located in the vicinity of the church that was here before the Cathedral was built in 1192. When it was unearthed, it covered the remains of an ancient well. Some believe the stone was carved between 800 and 1100; where these tone was quarried remains a mystery. Only 32 stones of this type have been found in Dublin; six are located in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

From Ireland (2015)

Jonathan Swift, known for Gulliver's Travels and A Modest Proposal, was Dean from 1713 to 1745 and was buried in the church.

From Ireland (2015)

After lunch, we took a tour of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (Ardteampall Chríost), more commonly known as Christ Church Cathedral. The Cathedral was founded in 1030 AD and was a Catholic church until about 1539, when Henry VIII converted the nearby Chapter House of the Augustinian Canons' priory and associated church to an Anglican cathedral.

I know little of architecture, which is why these sorts of tours are interesting; the tour guide was able to point out the different stones being used, as well as some of the other artistry in terms of columns and floor design.

From Ireland (2015)

Richard de Claire, the 2nd Earl of Pembroke, and more commonly known as Strongbow (a medieval English lord notable for his leading role in the Norman invasion of Ireland), is reputed to be buried at Christ Church Cathedral. In 1562 the nave roof vaulting collapsed and Strongbow's tomb was smashed; the current tomb is a contemporary replacement from Drogheda. Our guide mentioned that the tomb was used as the venue for legal agreements from the 16th to the 18th centuries; coins would be passed over the face, which is why it is so rubbed down. Alongside the main tomb is a smaller figure, which may indicate that it was a child or be the original tomb, but apparently no one is quite certain.

From Ireland (2015)

The tour included a turn in the crypts, which were constructed in 1172-73, and are the largest cathedral crypt (208 feet long) in Britain or Ireland. The bodies have long since been removed but it still houses the two oldest secular statues (Charles I and Charles II) in Dublin; they were commissioned in 1683, and until the late 18th century stood outside the Tholsel, Dublin's medieval city hall, which was demolished in 1806. The statues were removed to the crypts in 1820.

From Ireland (2015)

The Cathedral Church is connected to what is now Dublinia, a historical recreation museum, but which used to be the priory, and formerly the site of St. Michael's Church. One can apparently go up the tower if one is so inclined. (We were not.) There were three exhibits in the museum - one on Viking Dublin, another on medieval Dublin, and third on archaeological practices. It was the last exhibit that I found most interesting: It included the skeletal remains of a Viking warrior and a medieval woman, both found in Dublin. I didn't actually spend much time in that exhibit, though, since by that point we were both getting tired. The other exhibits had a lot of good information; it seemed a good museum for those with children (there were a lot of hands on activities) or who wanted a brief overview of Dublin's history, but since we had spent so much time at the National Museum of Ireland's Archaeology branch, which included an exhibit on the Vikings, we didn't stay long.

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