The Dominican Church of St Mary on Pope’s Quay has been in use since 1839 but in recent years has developed major problems due to water ingress at roof level as well as general damp problems, leading to the collapse of a significant internal plaster feature. Current estimates put the repair bill at more than €1m.
To this end BAM and Jones Engineering — two companies involved in the National Children’s Hospital and the satellite hospitals — are co-sponsoring a golf classic to raise funds.
St Mary Church was designed by architect, Kearns Deane, in 1828, a year before Catholic Emancipation. Work on its construction began in 1832 and the church was in use from 1839.
Deane is reputed to have provided his design free of charge as a gesture to the Catholic community of the city.
Up to this time, Catholic churches (as well as buildings of other non-Church of Ireland denominations) were not permitted in prominent locations, generally being built in back streets out of sight from the principal streets of the city. St Finbarr’s in the South Parish was built in 1765 on what was then a hidden cul-de-sac, only accessible from Douglas St before Dunbar St was eventually pushed through to the riverside. And the 1717 Unitarian Chapel is still hidden behind the surrounding commercial buildings.
In contrast, St Mary’s dominates the North Channel, facing the old city across the river.
St Mary’s prior, Fr Maurice Colgan, thanked BAM Ireland and Jones Engineering for their role in this July 5 fundraiser.