St Michan’s reopens to public after restoration of Crusader’s head

Man stole 800-year-old head of crusader and skull from vaults under church

The first visitor to St Michan’s Church Crypt which reopened to the public following vandalism. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The first visitor to St Michan’s Church Crypt which reopened to the public following vandalism. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

The vaults at St Michan’s Church on Church Street in north inner-city Dublin reopened to the public, after being closed since February 25th, due to the theft of a mummified head and skull.

Both were recovered by gardaí on March 5th.

The Ven David Pierpoint, Archdeacon of Dublin, perplexed as to why anyone would want to steal the mummified head of an 800-year-old Crusader, and a skull said: “I’d love to find out what his motivation was.”

The motivation referred to is that of Brian Bridgeman (36) from Dublin who pleaded guilty last month at Dublin’s Circuit Criminal Court to entering the vaults of St Michan’s as a trespasser and committing theft.

The Ven David Pierpoint at St Michan’s Church crypt. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
The Ven David Pierpoint at St Michan’s Church crypt. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Judge Martin Nolan adjourned the case for sentencing until July 24th, with Bridgeman remanded in custody.

Archdeacon Pierpoint said the local community had been brilliant in supporting the church since the incident, adding: “we’ve had huge support, from right across the world. We’ve had people send us €20 or €10 from Australia, Canada, just as a little gesture, and it has helped in organising the extra CCTV and all the rest of it.”

Archdeacon Pierpoint said he was grateful to the National Museum and thanked Carol Smith, head of its conservation department which had “worked tireless over the past four months to restore both the Crusader’s head and the skull”.

He also thanked the gardaí, the media “and particularly my colleague the Rev Ross Styles and the parishioners here at Michan’s for everything they have done to make today possible”.