Darling Munchy is no longer with us. She had a serious decline in her health and last Saturday morning, we made the decision to let her go. We are heartbroken and will miss her greatly, but it was the right time.
My brother and I have had Munchy in our lives for nearly seventeen years. From a tiny puppy to an elderly old lady, Munchy spent her life being loved by us.
St Michan’s Church was founded in 1095 by Dutch colonists. For 500 years, it was the only parish in Dublin that was north of the River Liffey. The present building dates from around 1685 and was designed by Sir William Robinson (Ireland’s Surveyor General 1670-1700).
Inside the church is a magnificent organ dating from 1724. It is one of the oldest working organs in Ireland. It is also believed to have been the organ that Handel used whilst he was composing his ‘Messiah’.
The most interesting feature of St Michan’s Church lies beneath the ground in the crypt. The vaults are accessed by narrow stone stairway. These stairways are steep and there are no handrails, so unfortunately the tour is not suitable for people with limited mobility. The vault tunnels are lined with limestone and mortar. There are large rooms off the tunnels that contain the coffins of many of Ireland’s historical figures. These coffins are stacked on top of each other, and over time a number of the coffins have burst open to reveal that the bodies inside have been naturally mummified!
Experts are unsure as to what exactly caused the bodies in these particular vaults to mummify. Our tour guide explained that it was likely to be a combination of a number of factors:
high concentration of lime
high methane levels
the vaults lie low and are near to the bed of the River Liffey
There are a number of mummies on display including a 400 year-old nun, a reformed thief and ‘The Crusader’ – a giant of a man whose legs had to be broken in order to fit him in to the coffin. Legend has it, that “shaking the hand of The Crusader” will bring you good fortune and luck. I have done this tour a number of times and only recently finally plucked up the courage to shake his hand. It was a very macabre experience as The Crusader’s spine and internal organs are partially visible. The hand itself felt wooden and was dry and dusty. I can’t say that I noticed any change in my fortunes, but I am glad that I had the courage to do it!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me, so these photos are not my own.
View the rest of the “A Tourist in my Own City” series:
I just wanted to apologise for the lack of posts over the last week or two. We had a lot of things going on here, including a doggy emergency and the sad passing of a feline friend, Spooky. I will update you about those in future posts.
We have agility training for a few hours now, but I hope to spend the evening getting back on track with my posts!
In the meantime, here’s a cute photo of Casper using Jimmy as a pillow!
Rita always had a way with animals and they loved her as much as she loved them. When my brother and I were planning the funeral ceremony, we joked that the only thing missing were the animals.
When we arrived at the church, what did we see skulking around the car park, only this beautiful black cat. It got braver and made it’s way to the church porch where it rubbed people’s ankles as they arrived.
During the funeral, Jonathan and I saw a movement in the aisle and looked down to see the cat confidently striding up the aisle towards the coffin. It stared at the coffin for a moment, and then looked towards us with gentle eyes. It stayed near us for the rest of the ceremony and we felt very comforted by it’s presence.
After the funeral, people discussed the cat at length. People had many different ideas and beliefs as to why a cat was at the funeral. Some believed that the cat represented all animals and was coming to the funeral to pay it’s respects. Others thought the cat was Rita in disguise coming to see who was attending her funeral! Then there were some who believed that Rita had sent the cat to give us all a sign that all was well for her. And of course, there were those who believed it to be nothing but a well-timed coincidence.
What ever the reason, the actions of this little black cat provided a church full of people with comfort and hope during a very sad time.