Mummies in the Crypt at St. Michan’s Church: Smithfield, Co Dublin


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Above ground, the church houses an organ Handel supposedly favored and rehearsed his Messiah. Underground, the church’s crypts are an experience unto themselves. You’ll find yourself guided down the cobweb-lined stairs to vaults that house the death mask of early Irish rebel Wolff Tone and the coffins of the Sheare brothers whose sentences in the 1798 rebellion became an example of cruel and unusual punishment throughout the world.

The visit gets one more morbid layer; the conditions under the church are perfect for natural mummification, and the visit gets you up close and personal four mummies. With dusty, dried fragments of flesh, hair, and even fingernails intact, the bodies are as much a curiosity as they are a piece of history. Each mummy tells a bit of a story… some of their titles give a clue, the Crusader, the Nun, the Thief.

Although only a few steps are required to reach the crypt, the low headroom may be challenging for those who have difficulty with stairs or who are very tall. Once inside, maneuvering in the crypt is relatively easy… just not for the claustrophobic.

Written by Liam Hughes

Liam Hughes

Liam splits his time between the US and County Tipperary, Ireland. In addition to providing private tours of Ireland, he spends much of his time hunting for broken dishes which he crafts into beautiful shard jewelry.
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