St. Michan's Church, Dublin 7

 

Built on the site of an early Danish chapel (1095), the current structure dates largely from a reconstruction in 1686, but is still (possibly) the only parish church on the north side of the Liffey surviving from a Viking foundation.
While the exterior of the church may be unimpressive, the interior boasts some fine woodwork, and an organ (dated 1724) on which Handel is said to have composed his Messiah.
Further into the bowels of the church, the vaults of St. Michan's uniquely contain many mummified remains. The walls in the vaults contain limestone, which has kept the air dry, creating ideal conditions for preservation.
Among the preserved remains are a 400-year-old nun, a six-and-a-half foot man popularly believed to have been a crusader, a body with its hands and feet severed, and the Sheares brothers-Henry and John-who took part in the 1798 rebellion. The various holders of the title Earl of Kenmare were also interred here.


The peculiar dry atmospheric conditions in the vaults has resulted in the mummification of the corpses and visitors may see the result of this mummification on their guided tour.

Also on display in the vaults are the death mask of Wolfe Tone and the coffins of the 1798 rebels John and Henry Sheares.

St Michan's church is the oldest Parish Church (still in weekly use) on the north side of the river Liffey, originally founded in 1095,the present church dates from 1685- renovated in 1825. 

 


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