Mummified remains housed at St. Michan's Church in Dublin are thought to be destroyed after a fire was lit on the premises on Tuesday evening, June 11.

An Garda Síochána said that they and emergency services attended the scene of the incident of the fire on Church Street at about 4:30 pm on Tuesday.

Gardaí said that the fire was extinguished by the Dublin Fire Brigade and the area made safe. No injuries have been reported.

A full forensic examination was underway on Tuesday.

A male was arrested late r on Tuesday in connection with the incident, for an alleged offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1991, and was detained pursuant to Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 at a Garda station in the Dublin area.

Investigations are ongoing.

The Archbishop of Dublin and the Archdeacon of Dublin confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that the historic crypt of St. Michan's Church of Ireland church had been broken into and vandalized.

"A fire was lit in the crypt which houses a number of mummified remains, including those of the 800-year-old ‘Crusader,'" they said in their statement.

"It is feared that at least some of the remains have been destroyed in the incident.

Archbishop Michael Jackson visited St Michan’s on Tuesday evening and said afterward that he was "devastated" by the vandalism.

"The Fire Brigade was called and members dealt with the fire," Archbishop Jackson said.

"However, significant damage has been done to the mummies.

"These historic remains are woven into the history of the city of Dublin and emblazoned in the imaginations of visitors and tourists from home and abroad.

“We do not yet know what the future is for the mummies as the Archdeacon of Dublin and I fear that they have been destroyed.

"These mummies are a national treasure and I am shocked at the sacrilege of the destruction of the remains of people who once lived.”

Archdeacon David Pierpoint, Vicar of St. Michan's, added: “Our security system is very tight and thankfully we have CCTV in operation. The footage has been handed to the Gardai and the investigation is in their hands. We are very grateful to the Gardai and Fire Brigade for their efforts and support in putting out the fire.

“The crypt is a crime scene but I have just been given access to see the damage. The mummies are sitting in a foot of water. They need a very specific atmosphere and I fear that at least two of the remains, including the Crusader, have been destroyed. I will contact the National Museum to see if anything can be saved.”

The skull of 'The Crusader' which was stolen and later recovered in 2019. (

The skull of 'The Crusader' which was stolen and later recovered in 2019. (

The medieval St. Michan’s Church is located in the historic Oxmanstown area north of the River Liffey in Dublin City.

Its crypt is home to a number of mummified remains, including the 800-year-old 'Crusader,' the mummified remains of the ‘Thief,’ a man who is reputed to have been buried alive, along with other remains whose origins are unknown.

The 400-year-old remains of a nun are also housed in the crypt.

In 2019, the head of 'The Crusader' was stolen during a raid on the church. It was later recovered by Gardaí and St. Michan's crypt reopened in July of that year.