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St. Mary's Church
 

County

Dublin

Coordinates

N 53° 23' 14.7"   W 006° 03' 58.0"

Nearest town

Howth

Grid Ref.

O 28720 39191

Map No.

50

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

24

Date of visit

Tuesday 27 May 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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A wonderful view over the ruins of the church and its graveyard from Church street.


This church was founded by Sigtrygg Silkbeard, the Hiberno-Norse king of Dublin at that time. He was the same king who had the Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin built 14 years earlier. The king died before this church was finished.
In 1235 the original building was replaced by a parish church. About 150 years later it was modified and a chancel and a chantry chapel were added to the east. The raising of the gables, the construction of the bell-cot and the addition of a new south door are from the 16th century.
In the chantry chapel there's the chest tomb of Christopher St. Laurence, from the nearby Howth Castle, 13th Baron of Howth, and his wife Anna Plunkett of Ratoath, whose effigies are carved on the top of the tomb. The tomb is adorned with carvings of saints particularly venerated at that time. We can see St. Michael, St. Thomas of Canterbury, St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Peter and, of course, the crucifixion. It was believed that those saints would have helped the souls of the departed to get into heaven.
The chancel of the church is aligned to the east (95°).
The church is in a graveyard which is locked after 5 pm. The keys are available from Mrs. O'Rourke, 13 Church Street. Make sure to talk with her, who is a very lovely lady, and not with her son who is extremely unfriendly.


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