'Priceless' religious relic recovered six years after it was stolen

The heart of St Laurence O’Toole has been returned to Christ Church Cathedral

'Priceless' religious relic recovered six years after it was stolen

The heart of St Laurence O’Toole in the cathedral before it was stolen. Image: United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough

Updated: 21.05

A religious relic has been returned to its home in Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral, more than six years after it was stolen.

The heart of St Laurence O’Toole - the patron saint of the capital - was found following a garda operation.

The relic was undamaged. 

It was returned to the cathedral, where it was stolen from in March 2012, earlier on Thursday.

The Church of Ireland's Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson said the return of the heart will bring "great joy" to Dubliners.

Christ Church Dean Dermot Dunne added: "I am grateful to the gardaí for all the work they have done in recovering it.

"I said at the time it was stolen that the relic has no economic value but it is a priceless treasure that links the cathedral’s present foundation with its founding father, St Laurence O’Toole. It gives joy to my heart that the heart has been returned to the city."

Garda Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy said it is not very often that the force gets "an opportunity to engage in such a positive activity".

He observed: "It is appropriate to acknowledge the great work of individual Gardaí who kept their radars on and their minds open in this ongoing investigation and I commend them for their commitment and diligence on this matter.

"I am personally delighted to return the relic to Christ Church Cathedral where it can again provide a most important and tangible link to our past."

Gardaí say following the theft of the heart, security at the cathedral was reviewed and regular security reviews continue.

Their investigation into the theft itself is also continuing.

Additional reporting: Jack Quann