Vandals Steal Head of 800-Year-Old ‘Crusader’ in Ireland

Update: Irish police have announced they have recovered the head of “The Crusader” and another skull that had been taken from St. Michan’s church. No arrests have been announced. The investigation remains ongoing.

The news of vandals breaking into a church in Ireland and stealing the mummified head of an 800-year-old body has made international headlines.


The Anglican Church of Ireland announced the news on Monday that thieves had broke into St Michan’s Church in Dublin, where they entered its crypt and damaged several of the mummified bodies inside. The body of a 400-year-old nun was badly damaged, while the head of the 800-year-old was removed. Known as the “Crusader”, it is believed to have been a man that took part in the Crusades.

The Archbishop of Dublin released a statement saying: “I am shocked that someone would target this ancient burial place and desecrate the remains of those lying within it. Not only have these individuals desecrated the sacred crypt but they have destroyed these historic mummies which have been preserved in St Michan’s for hundreds of years. I would appeal to those responsible to examine their consciences and return the head of The Crusader to its rightful place.”

St Michan’s Church stands on the site on a medieval church dating back to the 11th century. Its crypt is a popular tourist site, and the discovery of the vandalism was made by a tour guide just before it was going to be opened up on Monday. This same site was also vandalized in 1996.


Church officials ask that anyone with information to contact Irish police.

Top Image: Jennifer Boyer / Flickr


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