Friday, 15 November 2019
Celebrating the feast of
Saint Laurence O’Toole
in Christ Church Cathedral
It was good to be back in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, last night [14 November 2019] as a guest at the Festal Choral Evensong celebrating the Feast of Saint Laurence O’Toole, patron saint of Dublin.
Saint Laurence O’Toole left Ireland in 1180 to travel to Normandy, but became ill and died on 14 November 1180.
After his canonisation, some of his relics were returned to Dublin, and they remained in Christ Church Cathedral until the Reformation.
His heart had been on display in Saint Laud’s Chapel in the cathedral until it was stolen in 2012. The heart was recovered by the Garda Síochána last year  after years of investigation and now rests in the North Transept. And so, it was appropriate that one of the lessons was read by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.
I was present at last night’s service as Precentor of Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick, and as a former canon of Christ Church Cathedral. Also there last night was the Dean of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, the Very Revd Dr William Morton.
The prayers were led by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, and the preacher was the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Dermot Dunne.
The service was sung by the choirs of Christ Church Cathedral. Before and after the service, piper Mark Redmond played a number of pieces of traditional Irish music, including Laurence O’Toole, King of the Blind from the Neal Collection, Christ Church Yard (1728), and traditional Irish melodies arranged by David Bremner.
Other former and present chapter members present included my former colleague, the Revd Canon Professor Maurice Elliott, Director of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, the Ven Neill O’Raw, Archdeacon of Glendalough, and Canon Robert Deane.
After the reception in the cathedral crypt, I spent some time admiring the new icons by Adrienne Lord in the North Transept, where Saint Laurence O’Toole’s heart is now displayed.
These icons include three of the Crucifixion and one of Saint Laurence O’Toole.