History and construction
Features and pictures
- Special Acknowledgement - The parish of
Monkstown is deeply indebted to Mr Gerard Hyland of
The Pugin Society
for his help in compiling this historical note.
- Foundation Stone
- In 1829, a week before Catholic Emancipation, the
parish of Kingstown was constituted, with Canon Bartholomew Sheridan (Editors
note:-incorrectly listed as "Sheehan" in the 1966 booklet "Monkstown: The
Story of a Parish) as it's
first parish priest. His parish stretched over a wide area including
Monkstown, Dalkey, Killiney, Glasthule. He was a great church-builder.
St Patrick's, Monkstown was the last of 5 churches commissioned by him in 1861. The foundation stone was laid on June 29th 1861. The site had earlier been
purchased from the James Doherty, Solicitor, of Broomwood, Monkstown.
Sheridan’s intention was to build a replica of Dalkey church, which he himself
had commissioned some years previously. But he died before much progress
had been made. The following is an extract from The Tablet July 6th 1861.
(A scan of the original can be seen
The Tablet, Saturday July 6th 1861
LAYING THE FIRST STONE OF THE NEW CHURCH OF
ST. PATRICK'S, MONKSTOWN
- The first stone of the
new catholic church which is proposed to be built at
Monkstown was laid on Saturday, the Feast of SS. Peter
and Paul, by his Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, at
Broomwood, in the presence of a large number of Clergy,
and a very numerous assemblage of the inhabitants of the
town and neighbourhood. The churches which Canon
Sheridan can point to as having been erected by him
within the period mentioned are-- St Michael's Church in
Kingstown; the Church of the Assumption in Dalkey; the
Church of St. Alphonsus in Ballybrack, which is a really
beautiful structure; the Church of St. Peter in Little
Bray; the Church of St Bridget in Cabinteely, and all of
the churches are furnished with organs. The
erection of the church in Ballybrack cost him 3,000£,
and, ------ied in the good work, he has in contemplation
the erection of a church in Glasthule. It has been
the custom for many years of Canon Sheridan to lay by
each year a sum of money to meet the expense of erecting
churches. Within the last thirty years he has
expended 7,000£ of his own money in this manner.
three o' clock a procession was formed, and his Grace the
Archbishop was conducted to the ground where preparations had
been made for the laying of the stone. Among the clergymen
who participated in the edifying proceedings of the day were
were the Most Rev. Dr Hynes, the Very Rev. Canon Sheridan, P.P.
Kingstown, Very Rev. Monsignor Y---, Very Rev. Dr. Lee, P.P.
Bray; Rev Mr Kavanagh, C.C. Kingstown; Rev P. McCabe, C.C.
ditto; Rev J Leahy, C.C. ditto; Rev. B Sheridan jnr, --- C.C.
ditto; Rev J Harold, C.C. Little Bray; Rev J Flanagan, C.C.
Cabinteely; Rev. F O Donnell, C.C. Dalkey; Rev John O'Rorke,
Chaplain of St Mary's Convent; Rev. Mr. Crone, Chaplain of St
Patrick's Convent, O------; Rev Mr O'Reilly, Maynooth College;
Rev. Mr. Rogers, Seminary, Clonliffe &c., &c. The masters
of ceremonies on the occasion were the Rev. Mr McCabe and the
Rev. B Sheridan jnr. and the Revs B Harold and J Cavanagh were
His Grace the
Archbishop having laid the first stone of the future church of
St. Patrick, addressed the large number of persons who witnessed
the ceremony and gave the ----- episcopal benediction to the
The architect of
the new church is Mr P Byrne. The architecture will be
purely Gothic, and it is expected that the sacred ediface will
be erected by next St Patrick's Day. It will be 120 feet long,
the transcept 70 feet and the nave 42 feet. The Rev. Canon
Sheridan, P.P has given a subscription of 100£ towards the
erection of the building; Very Rev Monsignor Y--- 50£ and Thomas
Carey, Esq., of Sussex-place, Kingstown, 50£.
ceremony the Very Rev. Canon Sheridan entertained His Grace the
Archbishop and several of the local clergy at Lodge Park,
The new PP
Canon James Cavanagh, considered such
a design obsolete and unsuited to the locality. He commissioned
George Coppinger Ashlin
(1837 – 1921) and
Pugin (1834–1875) to draw up a new design.
- By late 1863 things had progressed to the point
where the London-based magazine "Builder" on 28th Nov was able to report that
"at Monkstown, city Dublin, a new Roman Catholic church is about to be erected.
The building will be in the Early Geometric style, and will accommodate about
1,500 persons. A tower and spire will stand at the south aisle, and will
rise to the height of 160 feet, forming a prominent feature of the building seen
from the sea. The west gable will be pierced by a circular wheel window,
under which will be two canopied doorways. There will be a colossal figure
of the patron saint, St Patrick, supported on an Aberdeen granite column rising
from between these doorways. At the extremity of the aisle will stand the
baptistery, forming a western transept. In the interior, a new feature has
been introduced in the clerestory, which will be formed by an arcade of detached
shafts and arches. The chancel will be separated from the nave by an arch
supported on marble columns and will be lighted by seven lofty two-light
windows, in which will be represented, in stained glass, the figures of our Lord
and the twelve Apostles. The cost, including spire, will be about £7,000.
The designs are by Messrs Pugin & Ashlin, of Dublin"
- (Editors note:- There was a convention of naming
the altar end of a church as the east end, regardless of its actual
orientation. (1) the "west gable" referred to is actually on the north-east end
of the church (2) the tower and spire is on the northmost corner. The stained
glass windows actually installed do not depict our Lord and the twelve Apostles.
- The Architects
- E. W. Pugin was the son of Augustus Welby Northmore
Pugin, and a member of the most distinguished family of architects of the time.
The older Pugin had designed many churches and cathedrals, and is best
remembered for his design of the Houses of Parliament at Westminster, and in
Ireland for his designs of St Patricks College, Maynooth, and for Enniscorthy
and Killarney cathedrals. E. W. Pugin was
responsible in whole or in partnership for over 100 Catholic churches in Ireland
- George Ashlin was the partner in the Pugin firm
with responsibility for Irish work. He married Mary Pugin, a sister of
E.W.Pugin. Together, the Pugin/Ashlin partnership, which had offices at 90
St Stephens Green was responsible for about 22 Irish churches and some other
buildings. Monkstown readers will be familiar with Glasthule and
Donnybrook churches, both of which are Pugin/Ashlin designs and have many
features similar to St Patricks.
- Contract for construction
- On December 30th 1863, a contract was signed with
Michael Meade, Builder, of Great Brunswick St, Dublin for the construction of
the church. The agreed price was £5,450, excluding the spire, and the work
was scheduled for completion in one and a half years.
- In 1865, Canon Cavanagh died before seeing
the results of his commission. He was replaced by Monsignor Edward
McCabe, P.P., (later to become Cardinal Archbishop of Dublin)
- Some months later, on 1st December 1865, the Dublin
Builder reported that "this church which is at present in the course of
erection, is in the French Pointed style. Exclusive of sacristies &c., it
is 180ft in length by 60ft in width. The principal view of the building
obtained from the Dublin Road is the western front, which has been made as
effective as possible on this account. The tower, which stands at the S.W.
angle, has been somewhat detached from the nave wall to give greater width.
The baptistery occupies the opposite angle, and has an aspidal termination
projecting from the lines of the aisle walls. The entire breadth of this
front is nearly 80 feet. There are two doorways in the the west gable,
between which will stand a statue of the patron saint. These are
surrounded by an arcade of five arches, supported on Aberdeen Granite columns
over which is the rose window. The whole is enclosed by a lofty arch
rising from the ground. The clerestory are arranged internally in the form
of a continuous arcade resting on red sandstone columns. The other
internal features will be sufficiently explained by the accompanying view."
- The "accompanying view", which can be seen
here is a drawing by Pugin and Ashlin of the church interior, with no seats
in place. There are slight differences from the finished church as it
is now. In particular, the drawing shows decorated panels on the
ceiling. Whether these were put in place and have been painted over is
not known. There are, of course, modern modifications to the altar
area and altar rails as well as the removal of the pulpit, all dating from
the post-Vatican II period.
- Although the actual construction took over
and a half years, it would appear even by modern standards to have been a very
rapid construction. The table below shows that materials had to be brought
in from a variety of locations within Ireland and from various places abroad.
There were very limited mechanical aids available to assist in the construction.
- Dedication and opening
- On 8th September of 1866, with some unfinished items still outstanding, the
dedication and opening was announced in the Freeman's Journal:-
- will dedicate the new church
of St Patrick, Monkstown
- On Sunday September 16th
- Tickets of Admission:
Large Pink Family
Ticket, to admit Three to Upper Part of Nave
Ticket, to admit One
0 10 0
Family Ticket, to admit Three to Upper part of
1 0 0
Ticket, to admit one
0 7 6
Ticket, to admit one to Lower Part of Nave
0 5 0
Ticket, to Admit One to Lower Part of either
0 2 6
- Tickets can be had
in KINGSTOWN at Miss Benson's, Upper Georges Street;
in Dublin at Messrs Lesage, Sackville-street; Messrs
Dollard's, 9 Dame street; and at Mr Duffy's, Welling
- The function will
commence at 11 o'Clock
- Mr Hamilton Croft,
the Musical Director, has been preparing a large
Choir, consisting of a full instrumental band and
efficient Chorus, numbering between Fifty and Sixty.
- The Music to be performed on
the occasion is
- HAYDN'S IMPERIAL MASS No. 3
- And at the Benediction of the
Most Holy Sacrament
- ROSSINI'S ADMIRED TANTUM ERGO
- All the celebrated
Amatuers of Dublin and Kingstown have kindly
promised their assistance to the distinguished
professional performers Mr Hamilton Croft has
One week later, on Sept 15th 1866, on the eve of the
dedication, the Freeman's Journal reported with typical Victorian style:-
- CHURCH OF
ST. PATRICK, MONKSTOWN
- On to-morrow his Eminence the Cardinal
Arch-bishop of Dublin will dedicate the above-named exquisite
new church to the service of God. The ceremonials will be
of the most solemn and impressive character, and the sacred
music will be performed by vocalists including the most
distinguished in the city, a chorus numbering fifty voices, and
a full orchestral band, under the conductorship of Mr. Hamilton
Croft. The collections and the means acquired by the sale
of tickets will go to liquidate the heavy debt incurred by the
Very Rev. Monsignor McCabe, V.G., the venerated pastor who
earnestly solicits the kind and generous co-operation of his
fellow citizens in the accomplishment of the great work which he
has undertaken to accomplish.
The dedication was performed by Paul Cardinal Cullen.
There was a temporary altar and a temporary pulpit, and the spire was
Fr James Leahy was moved from Kingstown to Monkstown as the
first resident curate.
The spire was completed about 1881, under the supervision of
John Loftus Robinson, using funds donated by a parishioner, Patrick Madden.
The Parochial House, adjacent to St Patrick's was built in
1892 as a curates house.
The assistance of Gerard Hyland of
The Pugin Society is