Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Statement by the Archbishop of Dublin and Archdeacon of Dublin following vandalism at St Michan’s Church of Ireland Church, Church Street, Dublin 7.

The historic crypt of St Michan’s Church of Ireland Church, Church Street, Dublin 7, was broken into and vandalised this afternoon, Tuesday June 11. 

A fire was lit in the crypt which houses a number of mummified remains, including those of the 800 year old ‘Crusader’. 

It is feared that at least some of the remains have been destroyed in the incident.

Archbishop Michael Jackson visited St Michan’s this evening. Afterwards he said:

“I am devastated to say that vandalism has once again struck in the crypt of St Michan’s, Church Street. The Fire Brigade was called and members dealt with the fire. However, significant damage has been done to the mummies. These historic remains are woven into the history of the city of Dublin and emblazoned in the imaginations of visitors and tourists from home and abroad.

“We do not yet know what the future is for the mummies as the Archdeacon of Dublin and I fear that they have been destroyed. These mummies are a national treasure and I am shocked at the sacrilege of the destruction of the remains of people who once lived.”

Archdeacon David Pierpoint, who is the Vicar of St Michan’s (part of the Christ Church Cathedral Group of Parishes), added:

“Our security system is very tight and thankfully we have CCTV in operation. The footage has been handed to the Gardai and the investigation is in their hands. We are very grateful to the Gardai and Fire Brigade for their efforts and support in putting out the fire.

“The crypt is a crime scene but I have just been given access to see the damage. The mummies are sitting in a foot of water. They need a very specific atmosphere and I fear that at least two of the remains, including the Crusader, have been destroyed. I will contact the National Museum to see if anything can be saved.”

The mediaval St Michan’s Church is located in historic Oxmanstown area north of the River Liffey.

It’s crypt is home to a number of mummified remains. In February 2019 the crypt was broken into and the head of the 800 year old mummy, called The Crusader, was stolen. It was later recovered. 

Apart from the Crusader, the crypt is home to the mummified remains of the ‘Thief’ and a man who is reputed to have been buried alive along with other remains whose origins are unknown. 

The 400 year old remains of a nun are also housed in the crypt.