St. George's Church, Dublin

From the Dublin Penny Journal, Vol. 1, No. 20, November 10, 1832

Among the various architectural ornaments with which our city has, within the present century, been embellished, one of the proudest and most costly is the parish churchSt. George's Church, Dublin of which we annex a representation, and which takes precedence in architectural grandeur of all the structures of the kind yet erected. But, though excellent in its execution, and imposing in its general effect, it is deficient in that purity of architectural adaptation, which we should naturally expect in so costly an edifice, in as much as it vainly endeavours to unite discordant styles, and to blend forms not susceptible of harmonious or legitimate combination. it is a difficult, if not an impossible thing to connect the classic forms of the Greek orders, with the steeple and spire of the middle ages, and should perhaps never be attempted. At all events in this instance we see an example of its unsuccessfulness. The forms are abrupt and unexpected; the simplicity of one part is destroyed by the richness of another, and the whole wants unity and harmony of design.

These remarks are made solely from an anxious desire to see the principles of correct taste more generally diffused in Ireland than they are at present.

The situation of St. George's Church is judicious, being seen from three spacious streets, and placed on nearly the most elevated ground within the circumference of the city. In its exterior dimensions, the body of the church is 92 feet in front, and 84 in depth, to which there is in the rere a projection of 22 feet by 40, which contains a vestry-room and school. The principal front towards Hardwicke-street consists of a portico of four fluted Ionic columns 312 feet in diameter, supporting an entablature and pediment, on the frieze of which there is a Greek inscription,

signifying "Glory to God in the highest."

The portico rests on a landing, accessible by a flight of steps, the entire breadth of itself, viz.: 42 feet, and the projection of the portico is 15 feet.

The body of the church has also three other architectural fronts, but of inferior dignity; and being without a churchyard, the rectangle in which the church stands is surrounded by a square of small neat houses, affording an uninterrupted view of each front, without the unpleasant prospect of a cemetery so usual in Ireland.

There are five entrances, one in front, beneath the portico, which conducts into the vestibule below the steeple, and two in each side.

The steeple is placed immediately over the portico, and consists of four stories richly decorated, and surmounted with a spire in the gothic style, finished with a ball and cross on its pinnacle. Its total height from the pavement is 200 feet.

The interior dimensions of the church are 84 feet by 60. The lower story is encompassed by a passage or corridor, on the side walls of which the floor of the gallery rests, and projecting beyond the corridor, has the appearance of being without any support except from projecting timbers or, as they are technically called, cantalevers, in the wall. The pulpit, reading desk, and communion table, are in a recess in the east end of the church, and the organ is placed in the gallery opposite. This church was erected in the year 1802, by the late eminent architect, Francis Johnston, Esq. Its cost has been estimated at £90,000. It has a fine set of bells, of the value of £1,300; the gift in 1828 of the munificent architect.