History



Whitechurch Parish is traced back to the 12th century, when it was under the oversight of St. Mary's Abbey. Today, the ruins of the old Whitechurch church stand about half a mile down the road from the present church and where two decorated and very rare slab crosses are found, probably dating from the 10th or 11th century.
In 1823, Whitechurch National School was established in the grounds of the present church. In 1827, a new church (the present church), officially titled 'New Whitechurch', was consecrated, blessed and opened for public worship by Archbishop William Magee, Archbishop of Dublin. The church's architect was John Semple, the architect of several Dublin churches and also of the Round Room in the Mansion House, for the official visit of King George 4th to Ireland in 1824. The most notable features of Whitechurch - its slender graceful spire, the tall, thin lancet windows and very large internal thrust arches - are typical of Semple's work.

In succeeding years, a gallery (1834), a funeral door and chancel (1868) and a Vestry Room (1876) were added to the church.

In 1952 and in 1968, the parish undertook major repairs and extensive restoration works to the church.

The church's stained - glass windows include three windows linked to bible incidents concerning angels. One of these windows is the work of Joshua Clarke, the father of Harry Clarke.

In 1990, due to considerable expansion, a new National School was blessed by Archbishop Donald Caird and officially opened by Mrs. Mary O'Rourke, Minister for Education, on a new site across the road from the church. The Old School was subsequently completely rebuilt and extended in 1999 and today serves as a very valued centre for parish and wider community activities and service. It was blessed by Archbishop Walton Empey, at its official opening by him.

There are two organs in the church, both dating from the later end of the nineteenth century. The original organ, a two manual, tracker - action Browne (Dublin) pipe organ, remains in place and in periodic use. In 1993, due to increasing liturgical demands, the two manual Connacher (Huddersfield) organ from the redundant St. Mary's Church, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, was transported, restored and re-built in Whitechurch, on a now extended gallery. A quite key figure in this whole project was the parish organist of the time, Stephen Adams, who is himself a noted organ - builder by profession.

In 2002/2003, a further major church restoration took place. The whole church was re-roofed, the gutters were replaced and pointing was replaced on the tower and spire. The bell headstock was also renewed.

A major and overdue internal restoration of the church was successfully undertaken in 2006. This has resulted in the fresh and very attractive features of the church interior which can now be viewed on the introductory page of our Website.

In 2008, part of the church boundary wall collapsed on to Whitechurch Road. Following professional advice, there was no option but to re-build the entire boundary wall. This major project was completed in 2010.

Local publications produced by Whitechurch Parish include:

Behind the Scenes' (the story of the Whitechurch district in south county Dublin) by Ernest Shepherd (1983). It is now out of print, though it is available in some libraries, e.g. The Representative Church Body Library.


Old Schools (1823) 'Souvenir Brochure 1999', the story of Whitechurch Old Schools, 1823 - 1990 (copies still available at parish office).


People and Steeple' brochure (Whitechurch 175 years), Editor, Patrick Comerford (copies still available at parish office).



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