Within every community in Dublin, there seems to be at least one beautiful church, and this was again confirmed as we walked through Portobello. Located on Harrington Street, there is St. Kevin’s Church, which is one of Dublin’s finest gothic-revival buildings. It’s a beautiful structure inside and out, as you can see from the photographs. The high arches and windows are a commanding presence amidst the relatively stout one and two-story homes of residential Portobello, and we were immediately drawn in to investigate. What we found inside was stunning: from the stained glass to the ornate details of the painted interior, we were moved to silence as we walked between the pews looking upward. A middle-aged woman whispered prayers to herself as she made the rounds of painted saints on the walls, crossing herself and dipping her head for each one. It was not until after our visit that we learned more of the long history of St. Kevin’s:
The church initially opened in 1872 to serve the Roman Catholic parish of St. Kevin. Interestingly, it was actually named after a pre-existing church because the original St. Kevin’s Church on Camden Row, that dates back to the 12th century, became Protestant after the reformation. There is not much on the history of this church but luckily once we entered the building, they provided visitors with a pamphlet that explains some background:
- Who St. Kevin really was is a myth, but people have agreed on certain facts about him–he was a Christian recluse in Glendalough, an angel told his father what his name should be, he turned water into wine, and he died in the year 618 at the age of 120 years old.
- The original St. Kevin’s church was built in Glendalough over 500 years ago.
- The next St. Kevin’s was founded on Camden Row that was built in the
- On June 3rd, 1872, St. Kevin’s Day, the church was dedicated by the first Irish cardinal and Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Paul Cullen.
- Around 40 euros was spent on items for the Church. Among these were things like a small organ, a statue of St. Joseph, angels, two holy water fonts, and a pulpit.
- The decoration of the interior continued for years after it was built, and is maintained beautifully to this day.