If the history of Irish religion is something you’re interested in, then Dublin surely is the best place for you.
Along with the famous sight of Christchurch Cathedral, there’s hundreds of other little spots that can hold your fascination. The first of these is the resting place of St Valentines remains, the Carmelite Whitefriars Street Church. This is an impressive church in itself, as big as some of the cathedrals in Ireland. From the outside however it is somewhat more humble in appearance. Inside it offers an impressive and decorative hall, more modern than others but still a good photo opportunity. Part way down the hall is an alcove, which contains the remain of the romantic Saint in a humble display, a simple box contains the actual remains, which is held within an alter, above which is a statue of the man. There is a book in which you can write a prayer to the Saint. Asking any of the clergy about St Valentine will reward you with an impassioned talk on the history of his life and achievements.
St Patricks’ Cathedral is not a far walk from Whitefriar Street Church, and with the park adjacent is a wonderful stop for lunch. It also allows you to get some good snaps of the Cathedral in more picturesque surroundings. It is a small charge of €5.50 for entrance but this allows you full access of the interior, and plenty more opportunities to get those snaps for the photo album. Again, the clergy and curators are incredibly knowledgeable and will jump at the chance to discuss their favourite subject. Depending on who you ask, you can get a full history of Dublin along with the story of the development of religion in the country.
Just around the corner from St Patricks is the Archbishop Marsh Library, a small but lovely little library containing many religious texts. With a cheap entry price, this is a quick and easy stop on the tour. The rooms that hold the books are stunning, lined with shelves, reminiscent of the long room in Trinity college. However this library is much smaller, and attracts much smaller crowds meaning a trip here feels like uncovering a hidden gem in the bustling city. The intimate surroundings and old wood finish gives it an almost imposing sense of gravitas and austerity.
Finally is the ever popular Christchurch Cathedral, the most expensive at €8 and also the most touristy, but with access to the catacombs beneath the main hall, this is money well spent. The cathedral is one of the most impressive in Europe and one of the most important in terms of Irish Religion, with large stained windows and a lot of statues and shrines around the edge of the room. Then the catacombs add a significant amount of intricate history and interest to the trip. The guided tours are an excellent choice as you’ll learn a lot about the cathedral, and this sight in particular has a lot of history specific to it. It has ties to nearly all of the events that have shaped Dublin city as it is today.
This is a wonderful tour you can do easily from Jacobs Hostel in a single day and even if you’re not so keen on Irish religion the sights are impressive and you will pass plenty other points of interest on route.