Photos from our gallery:
Music on Sunday
Lunchtime Alpha Express meets TUESDAYS at 1PM. For full details of the next course, contact the Parish Office or email@example.com. Next course due to commence in September.
Calling all over 55! Would you like to learn how to use a computer? Classes for beginners take place every Monday and Wednesday. Those interested can enrol by contacting the Parish Office on 01 676 7727.
Choirs wishing to sing at Sunday Services in St Ann’s are asked to contact the Director of Music, Charles Marshall on (01) 676 7727 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Historical Background
- The Fabric
- The Windows
- War Memorials
- The Bread Shelf
- The Organ
- Famous People Associated with the Parish
The parish of St Ann was created in 1707 at a time when the 18th century suburbs were beginning to envelop the site provided for the church by Sir Joshua Dawson, from whom the name of the street is derived. Together with Viscount Molesworth, he was responsible for creating some of Dublin's most fashionable streets. Dawson Street (1709), Grafton Street (1713), Ann Street (1718), and Molesworth Street (c. 1725). The rapidly evolving suburb attracted members of the aristocracy, the gentry, professional classes, and prelates of the Church, including the Anglican Archbishops of Dublin. There were private pews in the church to accommodate distinguished residents like the Duke of Leinster, the Archbishop, and the Lord Mayor. The Huguenots, many of whom lived within, or just over 500 metres outside the parish boundaries, also feature in parish records: names like Hautenville, Angier, Vandeleur, and la Touche. The Huguenot Cemetery is in Merrion Row, some 300 metres from the church.
Although the parish was established in 1707, the building did not commence immediately. It was described as being well advanced in January 1721. The intended grandiose baroque west front never rose above the first floor. This was replaced in 1868 by the present imposing neo-romanesque front, designed by Sir Thomas Deane, the distinguished architect of the museum at Oxford. The Georgian interior was designed by the architect Isaac Wills, who is also credited with the design of St Werburgh's Church (1715).
Wills was closely associated with the work of the great Thomas Burgh, who was engaged in building the magnificent library in Trinity College during the period when St Ann's was being built. The style of the architecture owes much to the new churches built by Sir Christopher Wren following the Great Fire of 1666 in London, with some Irish variations (e.g. the shortened columns supporting the galleries).
The original 18th century clear glass windows were subsequently replaced by Victorian stained-glass. The loss of light is compensated to some extent by the peaceful and reflective atmosphere stained-glass creates for people seeking refuge from the noise and bustle of the street outside. Some windows are more notable for those whom they commemorate than for their quality - e.g. Felicity Hemans, Alexander Knox, and Archbishop Richard Whately - but three in the south aisle by Wilhelmina Geddes and one in the north aisle (by Geddes and Rhind) merit particular inspection. Both Wilhelmina Geddes (1887-1955) and Ethel Rhind (c.1879-1952) were members of a distinguished school of internationally recognised stained-glass artisis, known as An Tur Gloine (The Tower of Glass), inaugurated in 1903 by the painter Sarah Purser. Included in this group were Harry Clarke and Evie Hone. Craftsmanship and artistic individuality were the hallmark of their work. There is more stained glass per square metre in St Ann's than in any other church in Dublin.
Alexander Knox (1757-1831)
World renowned theologian (commemorated in the east window and in a mural tablet in the porch). A friend of John Wesley, he was admired by the Tractarians, including Pusey and Newman and, indeed, by Wilberforce. He lived in Dawson Street and is buried in the church.
Felicia Hemans (1795-1835)
Poet (memorial window in the chancel and mural tablet in the south aisle). A prolific poet, hymn writer and essayist, and one of the most popular poets of her day. She is perhaps best known for her poem Casablanca, composed in 1823, of "the boy stood on the burning deck" fame. She spent her latter years in Dawson Street and was buried in the churchyard.
Richard Whately (1787-1863)
Archbishop, scholar and eccentric (memorial window in south gallery). Archbishop of Dublin 1831. A brilliant, eccentric and courageous churchman, friend of Edward Copleston and Thomas Arnold. He was famed for his eccentricities and contempt of convention, and was disposed to tutoring students while hiking or climbing trees, a skill he successfully imparted to his favourites spaniel, Sailor. Residing in the parish, he would have attended services in the church on many occasions.
Sir Hugh Lane (1875-1915)
Art collector (mural tablet in north gallery).Third son of The Revd James William Lane, Rector of Ballybrack, Co. Cork. His mother, Frances Adelaide, was the sister of Lady Gregory, and through her he met W.B.Yeats and other leading figures of the Irish literary revival. Lane set out to create a parallel revival in art by creating major collections of modern art, now housed in the National Gallery and the Dublin Gallery of Modern Art. Besides his French Impressionist collection, for which he is best known, his gifts included works by French, Flemish and Dutch. Tragically, he perished in the Lusitania when she was torpedoed on 7th May 1915. His single-handed contribution to art in Ireland is inestimable: one wonders how much more he might have achieved as director of the National Gallery, a position to which he was appointed in March 1914, had he lived longer. His memorial, erected in 1929, is no empty eulogy.
The dead of two world wars are commemorated in two memorials: St Ann's parish memorial (reredos) commemorating 32 names of men killed in The Great War (World War I), and 5 killed in World War II: St Mark's parish memorial (Lady Chapel in south aisle) recording the names of 24 men killed in 1914-18. Remembrance Sunday is observed faithfully every year in St Ann's. Europe Day (9th May) commemorating the birth of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1950 - the origin of the European Union - is also marked each year in St Ann's. It is right and fitting that we should honour those who built and maintain the peace and prosperity of Europe as well as those who died for it.
The Bread Shelf
Since 1723 these shelves have contained loaves of bread for the poor of the city by bequest of Lord Newton of Newtown Butler. We still maintain this tradition almost 300 years later as the charity still exists. It is a symbol of our ministry to all. Any person may remove the bread without hindrance or risk of question.
The first reference to an organ in the church was in 1742, when there was a public appeal for subscription towards the purchase of an organ. The 18th century style organ case in the west gallery is presumably a remnant of the original instrument. The organ was rebuilt in 1834 by William Telford, and has been renovated many times, with the latest updating in 2005.
General Anthony St Leger (1732-1786)
Founder of the St Leger Sweepstakes. Buried in St Ann's, formerly in the churchyard. Fourth son of Sir John St Leger, brother of Arthur, 1st Viscount Doneraile, he was founder of classic racing and attained immortality by establishing the St Leger Sweepstakes at Doncaster in 1776.
Laetitia Pilkington (1712-1750)
'Adventuress', writer and wit. Laetitia was for a time a great favourite of Dean Swift. Married to an impoverished ne'er-do-well cleric, Matthew Pilkington, her chief claim to fame lies in her Memoirs, published in 1748 following her release from the Marshalsea, where she was imprisoned for debt. Her reminiscences of Swift in his latter years, spiced with scandalous anecdotes, ensured a ready readership.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Author and playwright. Born on 15th October 1854, he was baptised in this parish in St Mark's Church (now closed, having been incorporated into St Ann's parish) as Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills [Wilde]. This record is now in the custody of St Ann's Church, as St Mark's parish records passed into our possession when the parishes were united. Educated at Portora Royal School, Trinity College Dublin, and Magdalen College Oxford, Wilde's literary achievements require no recitation here.
Bram Stoker (1847-1912)
Author of Dracula. Educated at Trinity College Dublin, his main claim to fame was Dracula, published in 1897. He married Florence Balcombe, daughter of Lt. Col. James Balcombe of 16 Harcourt Street, in St Ann's on 4th December 1878. Bram (short for Abraham) lived at 7 St Stephen's Green, beside the Hibernian United Service Club, about 250 metres from the church.
Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763-1798)
'Father' of Irish republican nationalism. Co-founder of the United Irishmen, Tone was deeply influenced by the ideals of the French Revolution. In spite of the collapse of the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland, Tone, with the rank of Adjutant General in the French Army, accompanied an expedition of 10 ships from Brest on 6th September, knowing that certain defeat awaited him in Ireland. The expedition was intercepted off Lough Swilly by a British naval force, and subsequently defeated. Tone was taken prisoner. Condemned to death, he took his own life in prison.
As a student in Trinity College Dublin, Tone fell in love with a parishioner of St Ann's, Martha [Matilda] Witherington, who lived with her parents in No. 68 Grafton Street. After a short courtship they decided to elope, following a marriage ceremony in St Ann's on 21st July 1785. At least two members of the Witherington family are buried in St Ann's.
Thomas Barnardo (1845-1905)
Philanthropist. Born in Dublin, he attended the Sunday School in St Ann's as a boy. Having already had experience working in the slums of Dublin, he soon became involved in London's East End slums. In 1867 he founded the London East End Juvenile Mission to care for destitute children. Two years later, he opened a boys' home in Stepney, which marked the beginning of a vast organisation known as the Barnardo's Homes in Britain and Canada. It is estimated that he assisted some 250,000 children in 90 homes. His cardinal principle was 'No destitute child is ever refused admission'.
Dr. Douglas Hyde (1860-1949)
Former President of Ireland. Douglas Hyde was born in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon on 17th January 1860. The family moved to Portahard when his father, The Revd. Arthur Hyde, was appointed Rector there in 1867. From the age of 17 he began to write prose, poetry and plays in both Irish and English. As a lover of the Irish language, Dr. Hyde began to fear the imminent demise of the language and the loss of its wealth of oral folktales and songs. With this in mind, he began collecting this material which he later published in his popular bilingual anthologies such as: "Beside the Fire" (1890) and "Love Songs Of Connaught" (1893). These works were acknowledged by W. B. Yeats as major sources for the Irish Literary Renaissance.
Dr. Hyde later joined with Yeats, Lady A. Gregory, J. M. Synge and others in creating an Irish national theatre. He entered Trinity College Dublin in 1880. An excellent student, he won many prizes for his academic prowess including the gold medal for Modern Literature in 1884. He graduated in 1888 as a Doctor of Laws. He married Lucy Kurtz, from Germany, in 1893 and the couple had two daughters, Nuala and Una. Also in 1893, he was one of the seven co-founders of the Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge) and was elected as its first president, a post he held until 1915.
Patrick Pearse, the poet, educationalist and Irish patriot, wrote: "The Gaelic League will be recognised in history as the most revolutionary influence that ever came into Ireland. The Irish Revolution really began when the seven proto-Gaelic Leaguers met in O'Connell Street... the germ of all future Irish history was in that back room."
Dr. Hyde held the chair for Modern Irish in University College Dublin from 1909 to 1932. His tireless work in reviving the Irish language and his contribution to the formation of the modern Irish identity was symbolically acknowledged by the Irish nation when he was unanimously selected as the first President of Ireland in 1938. It has long been acknowledged that the graciousness and gentlemanly dignity with which he conducted his Presidency did much to influence and mould the office of President.
Throughout his life Dr. Hyde was a regular parishioner of St Ann's and was known to be particularly fond of the liturgy and music in the church. He died on 12th July 1949 and was given a state funeral to Portahard Church, which is now used as the Douglas Hyde Interpretative Centre. He is buried beside his beloved wife Lucy, his daughter Nuala, his sister Annette, mother Elizabeth and father Arthur.