Dublin, Ireland, has a lot to offer tourists.
From its rich cultural history, to the local pubs, there are many chances to connect with Ireland’s present and past. One unique opportunity exists in the crypts of St. Michan’s Church in Smithfield County.
St. Michan’s Church in Dublin, Ireland, is a Protestant church. It dates from 1686 and has served Church of Ireland parishioners for over 300 years. The current church was built on the site of an early Danish chapel that dates around 1095. The church has historical significance for many reasons: it is said to house the organ which was used by Handel to compose the Messiah; it is the only parish church on the north side of the Liffey that has an authentic Viking foundation, and it is home to the vaults of St. Michan, which contain many mummified remains.
The journey to the crypt takes you down cobweb-lined stairs to the vaults below the church. Housed here are the final resting places for Wolff Tone, a leading Irish revolutionary figure and founding member of the United Irishmen and leader of the 1798 Irish Rebellion. Also interred here are the Sheares brothers, who were found guilty for their part in the Irish Rebellion and were hanged, drawn and quartered as punishment.
The conditions beneath the church are ideal for natural mummification. As such, the tour includes four mummies as part of the visit. The well-preserved bodies belong to Dubliners who died during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The bodies are so well preserved that patrons can see flesh, hair, and even intact fingernails on the remains. Local legends list the mummies as a nun, a man with one hand and both feet removed (most likely a thief), a very tall man who is said to have fought in the crusades, and a second woman of whom not much is known.
The tour guides are well-known for their presentation on the tours. Often lighthearted and somewhat campy, their telling of the history of the crypt and Ireland adds a special touch to the tour. Not sure if this is worth the stop? Did we happen to mention that you can actually touch the mummies? Tour times and dates vary throughout the year.