St. Mary’s Abbey
St. Mary’s Church
On the corner of St. Jervis and Mary Street, St. Mary’s Church of Ireland was one of Ireland’s earliest examples of a galleried church. It was built in the early 18th century, boasting of the Renatus Harris organ and spectacular stained glass windows. As it fell in ruin, it closed its doors in 1964 until it was taken over by John Keating in 1997, restored and re-opened as John M. Keating’s Bar in 2005. By 2007 it became the “Church Bar and Restaurant” as a Cafe, Juice Bar, Night Club, and Barbeque Restaurant. The Church was infamous, as Arthur Guinness was married here in 1761; John Wesley the Founder of the Methodist Church did his first Irish sermon here (1747); it saw the baptisms of Sean O’ Casey the Playwright/Author of ‘The Plough & The Stars’, ‘June & the Paycock’, & ‘The Shadow of a Gunman’; Theobald Wolf Tone; and Jonathan Swift (Author of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’), and the Earl of Charlemont attended service here. Mary Mercer, founder of Mercer’s Hospital and the Hanging Judge Lord Norbury are buried here.
St. Mary’s Abbey
* Meetinghouse Lane, Off Capel Street and Mary’s Abbey Street * Dublin 1, Co. Ireland, Ireland * 01 8721490 *
Down a creepy alley, John our ghost tour guide asks us if we feel unsettled in this very alley. I must admit, something was amiss. This back alley enters into the hidden secret of Dublin – St. Mary’s Abbey, founded in 1130, one of the wealthiest Cistercian Abbey in Ireland. There are only two rooms remaining of the original Abbey – the Chapter House and the Slype. This Abbey had alot of involvement in the affairs of Ireland until it was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539. This is where “Silken” Thomas Fitzgerland began his unsuccessful 1534 rebellion, and is how the Abbey is mentioned in the “Wandering Rocks” chapter of Ulysses by James Joyce. Today it houses a fascinating exhibition constructed by the Public Works and the Dublin Archaeological Society, with Trinity College’s History of Art Department. The Abbey was only recently re-discovered, 7 feet underground, under a bakery in the 1880′s. Some say ghosts walk the alley and can be seen in the remaining rooms of the Abbey. Oddly, perhaps because the bakery above could have housed ghosts, someone leaves bread here all the time that requires the Council to post a sign to “Stop leaving Bread Here”. Please don’t feed the ghosts.