Also part of the National Museum of Ireland, the Kingship and Sacrifice Exhibition is a collection of well-preserved Iron Age human remains found in bogs in County Offaly and County Meath in 2003. Bodies found during earlier excavations are also included in the exhibition. It is thought that the killing and deposition of these bodies in bogs was related to Iron Age kingship rituals. Believed to be royalty, they were found wearing early versions of hair gel and manicured nails. Weapons, clothing, utensils and other found items from the period are also on display.
As Dublin’s oldest building – founded in 1030 – Christchurch Cathedral is sure to have some secrets. Its crypt is the largest in Britain at over 60 metres, and is full of artefacts and historical treasures, such as the stocks that were once used for public punishments in Christ Church Place, as well as a mummified cat and rat. The two – nicknamed Tom and Jerry – were found inside an organ pipe in the 1850s and are mentioned in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.
Relics of Saint Valentine are said to be scattered all around Europe, but an Irish priest called Fr. John Spratt claimed to have been given the saint’s remains and a ‘vessel tinged with his blood’ by Pope Gregory XVI while on a visit to Rome in 1835. Both were placed in a reliquary at the church in Whitefriar Street, Dublin, on his return. When Father Spratt died, the relics were all but forgotten, but were later rediscovered during church renovations and a shrine with a statue of the Saint was built in their honour. Couples often visit the shrine on Valentine’s Day.