Full dedication: Christchurch Cathedral
Became a Cathedral in 1172
Apparently a wooden Viking-built church existed on this site from 1038, but it is the Norman period that leaves us the earliest remnants of the Cathedral today. It was rebuilt at least twice in the medieval period, once in 1172 (which was most likely when it became a Cathedral) and again in 1240.
Unfortunately the siting of the Cathedral was not superb as it's foundations stand on a peat bog. This cause the nave roof to collapse in 1562. When the Victorians arrived they decided to undertake a serious rebuild of the Cathedral and, as was their standard practice, totally demolished some of the most valuable ancient parts of the structure whilst they were at it (including a 14th century choir and chapel). To be fair on the Victorians when the rennovations began in 1871 the whole building was on the point of collapse.
The most attractive and distinctive Victorian addition was the bridge over Winetavern Street which from the outside looks a little like the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. Nowadays when you cross it you pass from the Cathedral to the Dublinia Exhibition.
The crypt is the only one in Britain and Ireland which is the length of the building above it and was, fortunately, left well alone by the Victorians.
Christchurch is the most satisfying to visit of Dublin's three Cathedrals.
Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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