We began our only full day in Dublin by visiting St. Michan’s Church, one of the more unusual attractions in the city. Below the church lies a series of vaults, containing numerous coffins and four exposed mummies – two women and two men. They say that one of the mummies was a thief – his body missing one hand, possibly due to punishment prior to his death. Both of his feet are cut off and tucked under his legs so that he could fit inside his coffin. Directly behind him is much older mummy – about 800 years old. It is said that he was a crusader, and it’s become tradition to “shake the hand” of the mummy for good luck. Shaking his hand really involves just touching his finger, which both of us did.
In several of the vaults we could see exposed hands, arms, legs and skulls bursting through decaying coffins. One vault contained the coffins of nobility. The coffins were all decorated with crowns to indicate their status, all except for one – a man who was assassinated due to his unpopularity. The family apparently didn’t like him either, so they buried him in a plain coffin.
Another vault contains the remains of the Sheare brothers, who were hanged, drawn and quartered by the British for treason following the Rebellion of 1798.