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'Crusader' head restored as St Michan's Church reopens its crypt to the public

The head was stolen in February but later recovered by gardaí after an investigation.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

ST MICHAN’S CHURCH in Dublin has reopened the crypt that houses its mummies to the public today, four and a half months after the mummified head of the 800-year-old ‘Crusader’ was stolen from the underground vault. 

The Crusader was decapitated in the crypt under St Michan’s Church on Church Street in February of this year. The mummy’s head was stolen along with another skull.

Other coffins and mummified remains in the crypt were damaged during the break-in, including those of a nun who lived 400 years ago. 

As a result of an investigation by gardaí, both the head of the ‘Crusader’ and the second skull were recovered in March.

Since their return the Church has, with the help of the National Museum of Ireland, been restoring the head of the ‘Crusader’ so it can be returned to the crypt. 

Nichols Funeral Directors, an undertaker located in the city centre, provided new coffins and re-coffined the mummified remains. 

Archdeacon of Dublin David Pierpoint told TheJournal.ie today that it’s a relief that “the Crusader is finally back in his resting place”. 

That’s important for me to know that these people who were disturbed are now finally resting in peace once again.

photo5848092517969539208 The crypt has been closed since the theft in February but reopened to the public today

He said he was surprised at the national and international attention the case had received and said the church had received letters from as far away as Australia, China and Russia expressing concern and sympathy. 

The response from the local community and gardaí was invaluable as it led to the eventual return of the missing remains, he said. 

“The local community can take pride in the place again… It’s very unique down there [in the crypt] and I think it’s good that people can experience all that.”

On 28 June, a 36-year-old man, Brian Bridgeman, admitted to stealing the mummified head of the Crusader from the church.

Bridgeman, with an address at Fortlawn Park, Blanchardstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty to entering the vaults of St Michan’s between 23 and 24 February as a trespasser and committing theft. 

Judge Martin Nolan adjourned the case for sentencing on 24 July. Bridgeman was remanded in custody.

With reporting by Jessica Magee. Comments have been closed because legal proceedings are active. 

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