While staying in Shillelagh recently we drove into Carlow and caught the 8:58 train to Heuston Station. It cost €72.40 return for four of us with no concession for seniors. We arrived around 10:00 and walked along the River Liffey to the Viking/Medieval area of the city to Christ Church Cathedral. We were able to take the 11:00 tour of the building (€4 each), site of the first public performance of Handel’s Messiah in 1742. One of my favourite parts of the cathedral is the floor –not the stone flags found in most cathedrals, but colourful tiles. A motif that you will see in the tiles and carved into the backs of the chairs is the foxy friars – the name of the café in the crypt.
Included in the tour was a trip up the winding staircase to the Belfry. Just when you think you are at the top, you duck down through a doorway and find yourself on the roof where you walk through another short doorway to more stairs. The views of the city are great and it was fun to ring the bells. At this point my aunts and uncle were accusing me of elder abuse due to the walk to the cathedral and the climb up the spiral stairs! In my defense, I did offer the bus as an option from the station but everyone chose to walk.
Down in the crypt for the end of the tour we saw the mummies of a cat and a rat, known locally as Tom and Jerry, that were found in one of the organ pipes. The story goes that the organ was not working properly. For some reason a note was missing and when they took the old organ apart the workman found the mummified remains. It appears that the cat chased the rat into the pipe and then neither of them could get out. Also in the basement is an exhibit of costumes from the television series "The Tudors" which is partly filmed in the Cathedral. It was an enjoyable visit to learn some history about Dublin from our entertaining guide.