Christ Church Cathedral

Dublin's photogenic eldest cathedral has been a place of worship for nearly 1000 years.

TravelCurious Tip

A tour of the cathedral will include a trip up – and explanation of – the belltower, and if you are lucky your guide will let you have a go at ringing the bells.

Located in the heart of medieval Dublin, the impressive Christ Church is one of the city’s two cathedrals dating from that period, boasting a history of nearly a thousand years. The original wooden structure was founded in around 1028, but the magnificent building we can see today was not put in place until shortly after the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1170. This initiative was spearheaded by “Strongbow”, otherwise known as Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, whose tomb now occupies the Southern aisle. The original tomb was smashed when part of the nave’s roof collapsed in 1562, and a replacement tomb brought was in from Drogheda, meaning that the armoured figure you can see adorning the side is not in fact Strongbow himself, but more likely the Earl of Drogheda.

The Mummies in the Crypt

Beneath the nave lies the largest cathedral crypt in the British Isles. It dates from the original Viking church, and at 63m long, its arched roof and sheer size cannot fail to impress. One of its more curious features is the glass case containing “Tom and Jerry”, a church cat and mouse who died after becoming stuck in an organ pipe in the 1860s, and now lie mummified here in the crypt.

Ringing a Bell

High above in the belltower hang no less than 19 bells, a world record for bells rung in this way. It is thought that there has been at least bell here since the cathedral’s foundation, but their numbers only really started to grow when recasting was required after the enormous explosion of the Dublin Gunpowder Disaster in 1597, which cracked the bells and caused extensive damage to the city in general.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Dublin
Dublin City Hall
A masterpiece of the civic Georgian architecture for which Dublin is renowned.
Dublin Castle
Originally built to defend Norman Dublin, this handsome castle is now the city's historic heart.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Ireland's largest church, built where St Patrick himself reputedly baptised local Celtic chieftains - and making Dublin a two-cathedral city.
Marsh’s Library
A perfectly preserved library of the early Enlightenment.
St Patrick's Cathedral Dublin
Founded in 1191, it remains the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland.
Dame Street
Located on the eastern edge of the medieval city, this busy street takes its name from a large dam that was constructed here in the medieval period.

Related Tours

Historic Highlights of Dublin: Private Walking Tour
Discover the culture and vibrancy of Ireland between the rolling landscapes and foggy skyline, by taking a historical highlights tour.

  • Explore the best of Dublin with a private guide in just 2.5 hours
  • Relive the history of the city, and even see a historic Viking home.
  • Walk through the gardens of Dublin Castle, with over 800 years of history. 
  • Enjoy the various architectural styles present throughout the city, each speaking to one of the different eras of Dublin.
  • See Ireland’s most famous college, Trinity College.
  • Stroll through several of the city’s famed sites, including Grafton Street, Temple Bar, and St Stephen’s Green.
  • Finish your tour, learning about Molly Malone, where your guide will give you several recommendations to try a traditional Irish pub meal.

Dublin has a rich 2,000-year-old history, spanning from the Celts to the modern-day; this curated walking tour will bring that history alive. On your tour, you will explore the castle’s 800-year history. Near old Christ Church Cathedral, you will learn about the area's history as a Viking settlement, and view the site of the world’s first performance of Handel’s Messiah.

Stepping on the Ha’penny Bridge, a beautiful pedestrian bridge that once charged the eponymous half penny to cross, we will cross the River Liffey to walk within the hallowed campus of the famed Trinity College, Ireland’s first and most acclaimed university. Here you will hear about the college’s numerous treasures and tales of renowned past students, including Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker. 

Continue your turn about the city with a dive into some of Dublin's most famous architectural buildings, including the Neoclassical 18th century former House of Parliament and the Georgian-style City Hall. You will also visit the famous Temple Bar, Dublin’s cultural and entertainment quarter and one of the liveliest nightlife areas that preserve its medieval street pattern, with many narrow, cobbled streets.

Visit famed O’Connell Street, where you will see The Spire, Daniel O'Connell and James Joyce statues and the General Post Office. This is the very spot where the crowds gathered for the Declaration of Irish Independence and which became the inspiration for poetry and literature of the era. You will hear all about the many writers and rebels from your knowledgeable local guide. Your tour will leave you not only full of the local history of the capital city but also with a great foundation to explore the city at your own leisure. 


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