St. Ann's, built in 1720, is a pretty church situated a busy shopping district on Dublin's Dawson Street, near Trinity College. Located next to the Mansion House -- the official residence of Dublin's Lord Mayor -- St. Ann's offers a charming and tranquil interior, with more stained glass windows per square inch than any other church in the city.
Famous Past Parishioners
A Church of Ireland (Protestant) Church, St. Ann's has had some famous parishioners, most notably:
Oscar Wilde, Poet and Playwright
In the baptismal records of St. Ann's, an entry from 1854 reads Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde. Later to become better known simply as "Oscar Wilde", the poet was baptised at St. Mark's church, a neighbouring church in the parish of St. Ann's. St. Mark's has sinced closed and the baptismal records have been amalgamated and now reside at St. Ann's.
Bram Stoker, Author of Dracula
In 1878, Bram Stoker was married at St. Ann's Church, to Florence Balcombe.
Wolfe Tone, Irish Patriot
Regarded as the father of Irish Republicanism, Theobolde Wolfe Tone was a co-founder of freedom fighters The United Irishmen. He led a failed, but symbolically important, rebellion against the British state in 1798. As a student in Trinity College Dublin, Tone fell in love with a then sixteen year old Martha Witherington, who lived in nearby Grafton Street, where her parents owned a drapery. As her parents strongly disapproved of Tone, the pair decided to elope, and were married in St Ann's on 21st July 1785.
The Bread Shelf
On Dawson Street, Dublin, the church has established a long and rich tradition of charity work, which began in 1723 when Lord Newton left a bequest to purchase bread for the poor. The original shelf where the bread was placed for anyone to take still stands next to the altar.
Stained Glass Windows
St. Ann's is said to have more stained glass per square inch than any other church in Dublin. Some of the windows depict people associated with the church, for example: Felicia Hemans (1795-1835), a poet and writer, best known for the poem "The boy stood on the burning deck". Alexander Knox (1757-1831), a famous theologian, who is depicted in the east window. While originally fitted with clear windows, these were refitted in the 19th century with Victorian stained-glass.
History and Architecture
Built in 1720, the church was built in a Baroque style, based on a design by Issac Wills, who had a much more elaborate church planned for the parish. A Romanesque facade was added in 1868 and stained glass windows replaced the original clear windows in the 19th century. The interior is Georgian in architectural style and influenced by Christopher Wren, with alterations representative of Irish architecture. The combination of many styles is said to be somewhat confusing to visitors. Major renovations were made to the church building in 2009.
St. Ann's Today
St. Ann's has a busy ministry and offers services and private prayer time from 10-4, Monday -Friday. There are civic events on the church calendar and lunchtime recitals and evening concerts. The church has 40,000 visitors annually and operates a bookshop and social center.
St. Ann's Church, Dublin. Image by Canadian Pacific.