Christ Church Cathedral
Image by infomatique
The First Christ Church
The cathedral was begun in 1038 by King Sitric Silkenbeard, the Danish Viking King of Dublin, for the first Bishop of Dublin, Donat or Donagh (the Diocese of Dublin was at that time a small island surrounded by a huge Diocese of Glendalough, and answered to Canterbury). The church was built on the high ground overlooking the Viking settlement of Wood Quay and Sitric gave the "lands of Baldoyle, Raheny and Portrane for its maintenance."Of the four old Celtic Christian churches reputed to have existed around Dublin, only one, dedicated to St. Martin of Tours, lay within the walls of the Viking city, and so Christ Church was one of just two churches for the whole city.
Originally staffed by secular clergy, the second Bishop of Dublin introduced the Benedictines, and then in 1163, Christ Church was converted to a Priory of the Regular Order of Arrosian Canons (Reformed Augustinian Rule) by the second Archbishop of Dublin, later Saint, Laurence O’Toole, who adhered to the rule himself; it was subsequently headed by an Augustinian Prior, who ranked as the second ecclesiastical figure of the diocese, and not a Dean, until re-establishment in 1541.