Thieves steal patron saint's heart
Thieves have stolen the preserved heart of Dublin's patron saint from the city's Christ Church cathedral.
In the latest in a spate of holy relic raids to hit the Irish Republic, the 12th century heart of Saint Laurence O' Toole was taken from Saint Lauds Chapel within the cathedral.
The saint's preserved heart was kept in a wooden heart-shaped container sealed within a small iron barred box.
The latest bizarre church theft follows two others in recent months. In January, a holy shrine that normally contains a relic of St Brigid was stolen from a church as worshippers prepared for the patron saint's feast day.
Thieves made off with the rare Celtic-designed reliquary - an ornate container for relics - which was screwed into the altar at St Brigid's Church in Killester, north Dublin.
Parish officials had only removed the relic weeks beforehand as the distinctive press, worth 10,000 euros, was being restored.
Last October in Co Tipperary, another ancient relic, believed to be from the actual cross on which Jesus was crucified, was stolen. That priceless artefact was returned to Holycross Abbey, near Thurles, at the start of the year after gardai carried out a search in the midlands.
Born Lorcan Ua Tuathail in Castledermot, Co Kildare, in 1128, Laurence (Lorcan) O'Toole was appointed Archbishop of Dublin after the death of Archbishop Gregory in 1162.
He died in November 1180 in Normandy, France.
The former church leader was canonised in 1225 by Pope Honorius III.