A number of mummies in the crypt at St Michan’s Church were desecrated in a heartless attack by vandals last weekend.
One mummy, known as ‘The Crusader’ (as the body was of a soldier from The Crusades), was turned over in the crypt and had his head removed.
The head is missing and is believed to have been stolen.
The 400-year-old remains of a nun were also badly damaged in the break-in, whilst a third mummy was turned onto its side.
Damage is also reported to have been done to a number of other mummies within the crypt.
The doors to the vault of St Michan’s Church, which has been open since 1095 and is located in Smithfield, were destroyed in the break-in.
One of the doors was taken fully off its hinges as vandals attempted to gain access.
It is believed that a tour guide discovered the horrific damage at around 1pm on Monday afternoon, when he arrived to open the crypts for visitors.
As a result of the break-in, the historical Church of Ireland crypts will now be closed to tourists for the foreseeable future while an investigation into the incident takes place.
The crypts have been open to the public since the 1930s and are a key source of revenue for the church. The vaults are visited by around 28,000 tourists annually.
This isn’t the first time St Michan’s has been subject to horrific incidents within the crypts.
In 1996, vandals desecrated the site and destroyed mummies, in addition to plundering a number of graves. The teenage perpetrators of the vandalism were later caught.
Gardai are now investigating the break-in, which they believed took place between 7pm on February 23 and 8am on February 24, and are reviewing CCTV footage in the area.
Anyone with information is asked to contact gardai at Bridewell Garda Station at 01 666 8200.