Officially known as "The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity", Christ Church Cathedral originally started life in 1028 as a small wooden church by the Viking King, Sitric. In 1163 it had become a priory (monastery) of the Augustinian monks. By the 1180's it had been rebuilt in stone, by King Strongbow, on high ground overlooking a Viking settlement. Following the English Reformation, controversy developed between the Catholics(who claimed it as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin) and the Anglicans (who claimed it as the seat of the Church of Ireland). After Henry VIII converted the church into an Anglican cathedral, Irish law dictated that the cathedral can only represent the Church of Ireland. The Catholics have never given up their claim on the cathedral but have set up a "pro-cathedral" (acting cathedral) at St. Mary's church on Marlborough St. In fact, Papal documents at the Vatican in Rome still lists this Cathedral and St. Patrick's cathedral (along with Westminster Abbey in London) as Catholic property. What has amazed us over this whole controversy is that the 84% Catholics that make up the Irish population has never demanded the return of these properties to Catholicism control. The most famous "inhabitants" of the Cathedral are the mummified remains of a cat and a rat. Legend states that sometime in the 1850's the cat apparently chased the rat into a pipe in the organ where they both became stuck. Routine maintenance of the organ discovered their mummified remains. They are on permanent display in a glass case in the crypt area. James Joyce memorialized them in his "Finnegan's Wake."
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.