St. Audeon's Church in Dublin is the oldest medieval church in the city and is still a fully functioning place of worship. The church is situated in Dublin's medieval walled city centre, on the north side of Dublin's High Street and only a short distance away from Christ Church Cathedral.
Building of the church began in 1181 when the first Norman Archbishop of Dublin John Comyn was in power. It was built to honor Saint Ouen in the Norman Romanesque style and was completed in 1221. It remains until this day the only church with its original medieval features still intact.
It is also assumed that there was an older church on the same spot, as a grave dating back to the 9th century has also been discovered here.
Some additions have been made to the church that includes an extension in the 15th century. As the amount of worshipers became less, the size of the structure began to shrink, first with the removal of the eastern roof of the church and later with the roof of St. Anne's church. Today the roofless section of the church counts as a national monument.
The church's bell tower is known to be the oldest in Ireland and its three bells date from the early 1400. Even more impressive are the wall monuments, like the one dedicated to the Spark and Duff family, a municipality family who was buried here.
The recently refurbished memorial monument dates back to the 17th century. It shows, amongst other moldings, a skull with crossbones underneath an hourglass representing death and the passage of time.
A rival to the famous Blarney Stone, The Lucky Stone, can be found in the porch area and dates from the early 1300's. Once considered the head stone of a religious cleric, the stone has been stolen and taken to unknown places a number of times throughout history but always somehow manages to find its way back to the church. It is surrounded by many myths, and the legend says that you should rub it for good luck.
The entry is free and you should take advantage of joining the 30-minute free tour. The basement of the church accommodates an audiovisual representation about Pre-Viking Ireland.
While you are here, make sure you visit the Guild Chapel of St.Anne with its fantastic St. Audeon's exhibition. The exhibition highlights the meaning of the church as an integral part of Dublin's city life.
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