St. Mary’s Church (Irish: Leah-Ardeaglais Naomh Muire ), also known as St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral or simply Pro-Cathedral , is a pro-cathedral and the bishop’s seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland.

Status as “pro-cathedral”

Though Christchurch has been in possession of the Anglican Church for almost five hundred years, it is still seen by the Roman Catholic Church as the primary official Dublin cathedral, because it was so appointed by the Pope at the request of the then Archbishop of Dublin St. Laurence O’Toole in the 12th century. Unless the pope either formal withdrawal of Christ denomination or grants cathedral status to another church, the main Roman Catholic church in Dublin will continue to be referred to as “pro-cathedral”[1] (that is, in effect acting cathedral), a title officially given to Mary’s Church in 1886, though it is used as the title unofficially since 1820 talet.Staden Dublin has two cathedrals, but unusually, both belong to a church, minority Church of Ireland, which until 1871 had been the religious establishment in Ireland. In contrast, the majority religion in Ireland, Roman Catholicism, has no cathedral in the capital of Ireland and has not had one since the Reformation, when the Church of Ireland was founded by Henry VIII’s break from Rome. As the official church, the Church of Ireland took control of most church property, including the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (commonly known as Christ Church) and St.Patricks Cathedral. These two churches had long shared the role Cathedral in Dublin, controversial at first, then under an agreement in 1300, Pacis Composition , who gave Christ formal precedence, including the right to enthrone the archbishop and to keep up his cross, miter and ring after death, but with the deceased archbishops Dublin to be buried alternately in each of the two cathedrals, unless they personally wanted another, and the two cathedrals to act as one, and “shared equally in their freedoms.”


Pro-Cathedral has its origins in the anti-Catholic penal laws [2] which restricted Catholicism (and other non-Church of Ireland faiths) until the early nineteenth century. For centuries, Catholics could not celebrate Mass or the sacraments publicly, and were subject to severe punishment (hence the word punishment ). Although these laws ebbed and flowed in terms of severity as they were applied, Catholic churches if they were built at all, built into narrow, difficult to find roads. In the early nineteenth century, many of the criminal laws had either been canceled or is no longer respected, an unsuccessful attempt has already been made to grant Catholic Emancipation. As a result, Catholicism began to abandon their former status as an “underground” religion. 1803, a committee formed when Archbishop John Thomas Troy bought Lord Annesley’s townhouse on the corner of Marlborough Street and Elephant Lane (now Cathedral Street), within sight of the city’s main street, Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) as the site of the planned new pro-cathedral, in anticipation of an erection, when funds and the law allowed, by a full Roman Catholic cathedral. The architect chosen to perform design was George Papworth. In June 1814 the demolition of the house took place. It was followed by the construction of a new pro-cathedral that combined a number of styles, but externally is closest to the Greek revival. Internally, it is more Roman than Grecian. The new archbishop of Dublin, Daniel Murray celebrated the new pro-cathedral ended November 14, 1825.

Although not a full cathedral, became the new building is a symbol of the Irish nationalist spirit in the period after the end of the criminal laws. Daniel O’Connell, leader of Irish nationalism and the first Catholic MP elected to the British House of Commons, was present at a special thanksgiving High Mass in the Pro-Cathedral in 1829 following the granting avkatolska Emancipation, which among other things had allowed Catholics to be elected to Parliament. In 1841, the first Catholic mayor of Dublin for centuries, O’Connell formally celebrated his election by traveling in the state to “Pro” High Mass. After he died in 1847, his remains were in the state on a large catafalque in the Pro-Cathedral.

Plans for a full Cathedral

Pro-Cathedral was never intended to be anything other than a temporary acting cathedral, pending the availability of funds to build a full cathedral.Different locations for new cathedral discussed. WT Cosgrave, President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State (prime minister) from 1922 to 1932 and a deeply religious Catholic, suggested that burned-out shell of the General Post Office, the site 1916 Rising, transformed into a cathedral, but the idea was not acted on, and the GPO be prepared for use as a post office.

John Charles McQuaid, who served as archbishop from the 1940s to the early 1970s, bought the gardens in the center of Merrion Square and announced plans to build a cathedral there, but to the relief of Dubliners, for which the gardens were an oasis of nature in the center of a lively city, [ weasel words ] his plans never came to pass and the gardens eventually handed over by his successor to the Dublin Corporation and opened to the public. Although it is suggested periodically to Church of Ireland, which has a relatively small membership can hand over one of its cathedrals to the Roman Catholic Church, has no serious proposals have been made for such an arrangement.(Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral (which acts as the “National Cathedral” of the Church of Ireland – Christchurch treated as pin Cathedral in Dublin) did propose to allow Catholic masses to be celebrated in St. Patrick’s but the idea was dropped after opposition in the Church of Ireland. ) Although theoretically the possibility of building a new Roman Catholic cathedral on the agenda, in fact, most of the funds raised to build a new cathedral has been building new churches in what was for a long time, a rapidly growing Archdiocese .

State ceremony in the Pro-Cathedral

Funeral of Michael Collins in 1922 – a contemporary newspaper drawing.This picture shows the original before Vatican II Turn Nelli high altar, the pulpit (right) and Ärkebiskopenscathedra (left, with cover)

Pro-Cathedral is still a focal point of religious and state ceremonial activity.Until 1983, incoming President of Ireland traditionally attended before the civil inauguration, a religious ceremony in either St. Patrick’s Cathedral (if they were members of the Church of Ireland) or Pro-Cathedral (if they were Catholic). While up to 1973, the ceremonies were exclusively denominational, ceremonies of inaugurations President Childers in 1973, President Ó Dálaigh 1974, President Hillery 1976, multidenominational, with representatives of the Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist and the Jewish faith who participate in ceremony. (In 1973 it took place in St. Patrick, in 1974 and 1976 in the Pro-Cathedral.) 1983 a multidenominational service was included as part of the civil inauguration in Dublin Castle.

The major religions held religious ceremonies in their main cathedral or pro-cathedral to mark the beginning of the law term or a meeting in Parliament, which would be attended President of Ireland, Taoiseach, ministers, opposition parliamentarians and members of the diplomatic corps. State funeral of the major figures, including Michael Collins and former President Seán T. O’Kelly, Éamon de Valera, Patrick Hillery and Mayor of Dublin Kathleen Clarke took place there. A painting of the funeral of Michael Collins hangs in Aras an Uachtarain, the presidential residence.


Internally, the Pro-Cathedral is dramatically different from the two most important cathedrals in Dublin. Its blend of Greek and Roman styles have proved controversial, as variously described as an artistic gem and a disgrace.Its main time leads up to an altar, behind which a stained glass window of the Virgin Mary (Saint Mary of the name) is visible. For most of its existence it had a massive Victorian altar and reredos of Turnerelli, a Belfast born sculptor of Italian descent. In the late 1970s, this was removed as part of a reformulation in order to get their sanctuary in line with the changes that followed the introduction of the review of the Mass. The altar was removed completely, which only the Tabernacle, but the front of the original altar was reinstated in the new altar, which was moved to the middle of a new paved surface on an extended sanctuary. The altar also removed. The pulpit was moved too, and is currently sitting unused in a corner of the building. A large contingent of Italian craftsmen employed by the church to decorate the interior of the cathedral.

Pro-cathedral caught fire in the early 1990s. Although the fire was extinguished before it took hold of the building, was considerable smoke damage to one corner of the building around the monument to Cardinal Cullen, perhaps the most famous of all nineteenth-century archbishop, and the first Archbishop of Dublin to be made a cardinal.

Bodies Pro-Cathedral

The original organ in the Pro-Cathedral built by Dublin body builder, John White, more than a hundred years ago, and this instrument includes some of White’s original pipework. The current facade of the date of organs from William Hill rebuilding of the organ around 1900. Subsequent work was done by Henry Willis & Co. in the 1930s, before the JW Walker extensive remodeling of 1971 under the administrator Monsignor John Moloney and the recent renovation of the instrument, with the same firm that was completed in the fall of 1995 the renovated instrument was inaugurated in a gala concert given by Olivier Latry on 20 March 1996.

Interestingly swell of the organ is built into the back wall of the church. The gaps in the waves are in line with the rest of the wall. The organ console itself was moved to a general reorganization of the church in 1995. This was to facilitate the direction of the choir.

This body has been regarded as one of the finest examples in Ireland in the late nineteenth century grand romantic organs, and has since initial installation prominent in the many great liturgical occasions have graced the pro-cathedral. In recent times, many of the major organ recitalists of our time have done it: Daniel Chorzempa, Xavier Darasse, Sir David Lumsden, Daniel Roth, Dame Gillian Weir, Arthur Well, Olivier Latry, and others. The current Titular organist at Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral Professor Gerard Gillen who has held this position since 1971. For

A choir organ is on the letter (right) side of the high altar. Since the development of the great organ, it fell into disuse, and after a few years was closed. The lack most of its internal piping and its keyboard. It is characteristic of the earlier period of the Pro-Cathedral.

Music of the Pro-Cathedral

Music has always been a central service in Saint Mary Pro Cathedral. The Palestrina Choir is the resident choir of Saint Mary Pro-Cathedral. It had its origin in a boys’ choir was formed in the 1890s avVincent O’Brien, then a music teacher at St Mary’s Place Christian Brothers School in Dublin. It was at a performance of Palestrina’s Do Papae Marcelli at St. Teresa’s Carmelite Church in Clarendon Street in 1898 as the choir came to the attention of Edward Martyn, their founding sponsor. Martyn wanted to promote the music of Palestrina espoused by Pius X as a standard liturgical music should pursue. The Palestrina Choir was formed and installed in the Pro-Cathedral of January 1, 1903 O’Brien as a director.

In the century since its inception, the choir has had seven members. Vincent O’Brien, director until 1946, succeeded by his son, Oliver. In 1978 took Fr Seán O hEarcaigh the baton of Oliver O’Brien. He was succeeded in 1982 by Ite O’Donovan and 1996 by Comdt Joseph Ryan. Orla Barry was director from late 1996 to 2001. The current director is Blánaid Murphy, who is widely recognized as one of Ireland’s most prominent choral teachers, especially children’s voices. Over the years, Palestrina Choir has attracted singers of high renown. John McCormack was a member of the choir from 1904 to 1905. Many new members are now prominent soloists, mainly Emmanuel Lawler, who started his singing career as a boy soprano in a choir. In recent years, the choir has traveled extensively, singing in many cathedrals and venues throughout Ireland, Europe and North America.

During the school term Palestrina choir sing on Sunday morning Solemn Latin Mass (Novus Ordo), Friday evening Vespers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament (5:15) and Mass (5:45).

A girls’ choir was founded in 2009. The choir sings today 10 o’clock Mass on Sundays and 17:45 on the evening Mass on Tuesdays. Cantors and visiting choirs often help with the musical liturgies in the Cathedral.

Another permanent group is Pro Nuova group that sings contemporary liturgical music on Sunday evening Mass.


  • John Thomas Troy, Archbishop of Dublin (1786-1823)
  • Daniel Murray, Archbishop of Dublin (1823-1852)
  • Edward Joseph Byrne, Archbishop of Dublin (1921-1940)
  • John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin (1940-1972)
  • Dermot Ryan, Archbishop of Dublin (1972-1984)
  • Kevin McNamara, Archbishop of Dublin (1984-1987)