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St. Michan's Church

altThe original Saint Michan's Church was a Danish castle built in 1095, though the current building was built much more recently, in 1686.  It is the only remaining churches in Ireland that was originally founded by Vikings.  The exterior isn't particularly remarkable, but the interior features excellent woodwork, stained glass, and an organ dating to 1724.  It was here that Handel supposedly composed his famous Messiah.

The highlight is in the vaults underneath.  The limestone walls have kept the air dry, creating an ideal environment for preservation.  Consequently, they are filled with mummified remains.  You can even touch one if you're feeling adventurous.  There are 400 year old remains of a nun and a crusader.  This is a one of a kind experience.  The grounds are small, but feature gravestones that are hundreds of years old.

The vaults are only accessible via tour, but they are a can't miss.  The guides are dedicated and entertaining.  The church itself isn't particularly memorable, but there is a lot of history here.  The atmosphere feels ancient, and a little creepy.

Location: Church Street, Dublin
Telephone: +353 01 872 4154
Tram: Smithfield, The Four Courts (Red Luas)
Admission: €4.00 for the Tour

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