Largely rebuilt in 1686 on the site of an 11th century Hiberno-Viking church, the dull façade of St. Michan’s hides a more exciting interior. Deep in its vaults lie a number of bodies that have barely decomposed because of the dry atmosphere created by the church’s magnesian limestone walls. Their wooden caskets, however, have cracked open. Revealing the preserved bodies, complete with skin and strands of hair. Among those thought to have been mummified in this way are the brothers Henry and John Sheares, leaders of the 1798 rebellion, who were executed that year. Other less gory attractions include the magnificent wood carving of fruits and violins and other instruments above the choir. There is also an organ (1724) on which Handel is said to have played. It is thought that the churchyard contains the unmarked grave of United Irishman Robert Emmet, leader of the abortive 1803 Rising.
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