Friday, 26 September 2014

Mass in Merchants Quay

From Dublin: The City Within the Grand and Royal Canals and the Circular Road by Christine Casey, p. 344 ff:

Merchant's Quay 

1836 by James Bolger. A large and much-rebuilt Franciscan church on a sequestered site behind the riverfront buildings of Merchants' Quay. A Franciscan friary of 1615 on Cook Street served as the first post-Reformation seminary in Ireland. Its chapel was destroyed in 1629, and the friars did not return until 1757 when a house was purchased on Merchants' Quay. Built on the site of an c18 chapel, the curious name derives from an adjacent tavern. In time much of the quayside was acquired and is now occupied by a large Friary of 1900 by W.G. Doolin; Italianate, of granite with three storeys over a blind rusticated arcade. The quayside entrance to the church, which lies on an axis with the N transept, is perhaps Patrick Byrne's design of 1852, though the execution has a later ring to it. It consists of a deep narthex and upper rooms. The three-bay arcaded and pilastered facade is pedimented, with two squashed mezzanine storeys, like a cross between a c17 town palace and a provincial church. Further w, Skipper's Alley leads to the w front of the nave, a thin two-tiered composition adden in 1926 by J.J. O'Hare, Doric below and Composite above with a central pediment, portal and window. On the 1. at the nw angle is a spare granite bell-tower of c. 1930, battered, with angle projections, and crowned by a pedimented temple with columns in antis; probably by J.J. Robinson & R.C. Keefe, who extensively remodelled the church in the 1930s. - SCULPTURE. Above the quayside entrance, St. Francis by Seamus Murphy, and at the corner of Merchants' Quay and Winetavern Street, a bronze figure of the Virgin by Gabriel Hayes, 1955. Like St. Andrew's Westland Row, the plan originally consisted of unaisled nave and transept. here the nave was dwarfed by a vast transept, entered from Cook Street, s, and later also from Merchants' Quay, n. the nave had no direct access until the c20. The Civil Engineer and Architect's Journal of 1844 described it as 'a spacious building but in nothing remarkable for either elegance or judicious arrangement'. After almost two centuries of enlargement and alteration, this still rings true. The church is now arcaded and aisled, with a dome over the crossing, a broad apsidal chancel and a galleried ambulatory. Giant Corinthian polasters on tall pedestals support a continuous entablature and an elliptical vault with semicircular clerestory windows. Uninspired, it looks like bread-and-butter late c19 work by W.H. Byrne & Son. The apse was added in 1924-7 probably by J.J. O'Hare, the aisles in 1930-3, a mortuary chapel at the w end from 1930-9 by Robinson & Keefe and the St. Anthony chapel off the s aisle in 1936-9 by J.V. Downes & B.T. Meehan. Too many cooks spoiled the broth. The most attractive features of the 1930s remodelling are the aisle confessionals, sub-Art Deco with Ionic pilasters and glazed central doors with copper glazing bars and dark irregular glass. - REREDOS, fine white marble figure of the Virgin by John Valentine Hogan. - NARTHEX, Plaque of the Virgin flanked by Ss. Christopher and Joseph, mid-c20 by Eileen Broe. - PAINTINGS. St. Anthony Chapel. Miracles of St. Anthony, six charming Quattrocento-inspired paintings begun in 1938 by Muriel Brandt, who had studied mural painting with Stanley Spencer at the Royal College of Art in London. - Mortuary Chapel. Two paintings, Death of St. Francis (n) and Ascension of Souls from Purgatory, also by Brandt. - STAINED GLASS - Transepts, Nativity (n) and Annunciation, pictorial. Possibly the windows supplied in 1889 by William Martin & Son.