2. The crypts of St. Michan’s Church
Handel may have composed The Messiah on the organ there (emphasis on may have), but St. Michan’s Church is far from being one of the most impressive in Dublin. With an unassuming exterior on a street that most would rather bypass, it doesn’t seem like any sort of tourist attraction. That’s why the tour guide will lead you outside of the church, into what looks like a storm shelter on the side of it, down a set of ancient steps, and into the crypts below it, where the dry air caused by limestone walls have left the church’s real draw: its mummies.
The Shear brothers, supposedly hanged, drawn, and quartered by the British for their involvement in the Rising of 1798, lie in closed coffins, overlooked by the death mask of Wolfe Tone. In open coffins are nuns, a potential criminal, and an 800 year-old man who is believed to be a crusader. Since shaking the hands of a crusader was believed to bring good luck, the tour guide, for old time’s sake, might lift the bars between you and the open coffins and encourage you to try for a lifetime of good fortune by rubbing his finger. Feeling lucky?