St. Mary's Roman Catholic Parish, Dublin

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The parish of St. Mary is the mensal of the Archbishop, and comprises the Protestant parish of St. Thomas, and the principal parts of those of St. Mary and St. George: the parochial duties are performed by the Archbishop, seven officiating clergymen, and one assistant. The chapel, a spacious and magnificent building, commenced in 1815 and not yet completed, is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is usually styled the Church of the Conception. The front to Marlborough-street will, when finished, consist of a portico of six fluted Doric columns, supporting an entablature ornamented with triglyphs, and surmounted by a pediment. The interior is divided into a nave and side aisles by two splendid colonnades; the west end forms a circular termination, under which is the principal altar of white marble, detached from the walls and enclosed by a circular railing; in the centre of each aisle is a quadrangular recess. The total expense of completing the structure is estimated at £50,000.

Besides the above, there are the chapel of St. Francis Xavier, Upper Gardiner-street; a chapel belonging to the Dominican friary, Denmark-street; and a chapel belonging to the convent of Carmelite nuns, North William-street. The chapel of St. Francis Xavier is attended by the priest of the order of "Jesuits," established here in 1817: the inmates consist of a superior and five priests, who have a classical school in Hardwicke-street. The building is cruciform and of the ancient Ionic order, with a lofty portico in the centre; and at each side are receding wings forming vestibules, crowned with domes supported by columns of the Ionic order; the interior is highly decorated, and the organ, which is considered to be one of the finest in Ireland, was built for the great musical festival at Westminster.

The chapel in Denmark-street, dedicated to St. Dominic, belongs to the order of Dominicans, consisting of a prior and five friars; in connection with this is St. Patrick's Juvenile Society. The chapel in North William-street belongs to the convent of the order of Carmelites: the inmates consist of a superioress and a sisterhood of 15. The chapel is a neat building, in the later style of English architecture; a school, in which 20 girls are educated, clothed, and wholly provided for, is attached to the institution. The Sisters of Charity have an establishment in Upper Gardiner-street, consisting of a superioress and a sisterhood of 14, who superintend the education of 200 girls.

The principal establishment of the Christian Doctrine Confraternity, consisting of a director and two assistants, is in North Richmond-street, where they support a model school for the novices for the other houses of the society; they also instruct 550 children in the parochial chapel and 130 in Denmark-street, every Sunday. The confraternity instruct children in all the other parochial and in most of the friary chapels: the total number of children under their tuition amounts to 5987 males and 3942 females.

There are two national schools, one in Gloucester-place, and the other in King's Inns-street; an almshouse in North William-street for twenty-three widows, which is supported by subscription; and the Metropolitan Orphan Society, in which 99 children are supported, chiefly by penny weekly subscriptions of the working classes. The Asylum for Female Penitents, founded in 1833, affords shelter to 30 inmates; another in Mecklenburgh-street, founded in the same year, supports 35; a third in Dominick-street supports 34, and there is another in Marlborough-street; in all of them the penitents are employed in needlework, washing, and similar useful occupations.

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