No, Finn McSpool hasn’t been turned into a dragon adopted by Hagrid. Instead, he’s discovered a trio of mummies. Not in Egypt, but in the heart of Dublin. This is all getting somewhat confusing, so let’s get on with our third day in the big city.
After the bevy of fabulous photos in last week’s post on our tour of Newgrange and the Boyne Valley, I think Mr Husband and I were experiencing a bit of picture-taking weariness at this point, so there’s not many images this time around.
But don’t worry, the cameras and trigger fingers were fully functional later in the day (and later in this post) when Finn worked his way through many (MANY) samples of experimental brews at the Open Gate Brewery.
Stopping Off for Longer Than Expected at St. Audoen’s
Our first stop before trudging off to go find some mummies was at St Audoen’s Church which was only a few minutes’ walk from where we were staying. Because it was undergoing some major exterior renovations and covered in scaffolding, I didn’t get any photos of the outside, but here’s what it should look like according to the visitor’s guide:
The moment you enter this church, you get a peek through the floor at the original foundations (from around 1180-1190). You also attract the attention of the old fellow who serves as the church’s walking information booth.
Now don’t get me wrong, this guy was super friendly and very interesting and he really knew his stuff and absolutely helped us get a visual of how the church had been built up and up over the ages. However, our quick pop in to have a look around turned into a visit that lasted well over an hour. Ah well, we’re on vacation, right?
Anyway, this is the oldest parish church in Dublin and, although the main structure of St Audoen’s was built around 1190, there may have been a church here since the 800-900s. Plenty of additions and reconstructions have happened giving the interior a very cobbled together look.
For being free and not being mentioned in many guidebooks, I’d definitely say St. Audoen’s is worth a stop…if for nothing other than to give that old guy someone to talk to!
Off to the Mummies
It was time to wander across to the north side of the River Liffey to hunt down those mummies. Our hunting grounds: St. Michan’s Church. This is another of those places that’s just barely given a mention in only a handful of guidebooks, but the moment I saw “crypts” and “mummies” I knew we had to go (Mr Husband has his tower obsession, I have my crypts).
From the outside, St Michan’s isn’t much to look at. Okay, the inside’s nothing spectacular either (although your first tour guide will try to get you interested). Once the first tour guide is done going on about the blessings of Jesus to the church, you’re handed off to another tour guide.
Honestly, I don’t know if this guy was acting or if he really was super creepy, but he was Super Creepy and I’m not sure I’d have wanted to go into the crypts alone with him. But hey, that all adds to the ambience, right?
Under St. Michan’s are vaulted crypts that happen to be made of limestone. The stone kept everything nice and dry while the crypts themselves kept things cool. Throw some bodies into an environment like that, wait a few centuries, and you’ve got yourselves some mummies.
Because most of these vaults are still owned by living families, you’re not allowed to go around snapping photos and most are unlit out of respect. However, a few are part of the show. Due to caskets being stacked or simply wearing down, some have popped open and you’ll see plenty of bones, mummified skin, and…oh, poor Finn, he’s trembling in my backpack begging to leave. Just a sec, Finn, we’re just getting to the good part.
In the final couple vaults you get a good yarn about the Sheares brothers who fought in the 1798 rebellion as you watch their coffins for any sign of movement.
Finally, you’re taken to view a man who would have been over six feet tall. He’s called the Crusader, but his crusading days are long over. Apparently they measured this poor guy’s coffin wrong because to get him to fit, they had to chop off his feet. Although they also chopped off his right hand so maybe there was more to this story, and might be why some places refer to him as the Thief.
The mummies and crypts were pretty cool and I’m glad we went, but I have to say the price of admission was a tad steep for what you see. If you want your own tour of the vaults, there’s a quick video at this link.
Beer, Must Have Beer
After those frightening mummies (and possibly more frightening tour guide), Finn needed something to settle his nerves. Luckily, our non-creepy Dublin tour guide, Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties, had made plans for just that very thing and booked us in for a tasting session at Guinness’s Open Gate Brewery.
You’ve seen these photos in an earlier post, but let’s look at them again. For the price of admission you get samples of four of the dozen or so experimental ales, stouts, and lagers the brewers have come up with. Of course, despite having the wool scared out of him earlier, Finn was quickly up to his old tricks and thought all three sample trays were for him.
And you know what happens when a wee monster gets in his (and our) cups…
But when it’s time for another (and bigger) round, he’s always right up there for the challenge.
What do you think? Any crazy tour guide tales? Which do you prefer: towers or crypts?
See you then and thanks for popping by!!
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