A relic of St Laurence O'Toole has been stolen from Christ Church Cathedral.

The preserved heart of Dublin's patron saint, which was kept in a wooden heart-shaped container sealed within a small iron barred box, was believed to be stolen between last night and noon today.

The one time archbishop was born Lorcán Ua Tuathail in Castledermot, Co Kildare in 1128 and died in France in 1180.

His heart has been preserved in Christ Church Cathedral since the 13th century and was a major pilgrimage site in the medieval period.

The Dean of Christ Church Cathedral and the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough, Rev Dermot Dunne said he was devastated that one of the treasured artifacts of the cathedral is stolen.

"It has no economic value but it is a priceless treasure that links our present foundation with its founding father, St Laurence O'Toole."

Gardaí have appealed to anyone who may have visited St Lauds Chapel since yesterday evening to contact them at Kevin Street at 01- 6669400, the Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.