As the Archdiocesan website tell us, the building of the Church of the Visitation started in 1847 and it opened on the 14th of January 1855 and was dedicated on the 12th of October 1856. The Parish was entrusted to Conventual Franciscans March 1987. However, this part of Dublin, so close to the site of the famous Battle of Clontarf, is steeped in history.
The Parish has its origins in the Parish of Coolock, one of the medieval Parishes of Dublin and one of the few still operating during the Penal Era. Until 1829, the whole of the area including Clontarf was part of this then rural Parish. The Parish of Clontarf was formed in the auspicious year 1829 and building of the Church of St. John the Baptist commenced soon afterwards. A monastic chapel for a community of Carmelite oblates served as the chapel of Fairview for the first half of the 19th century.
By the time the Church of the Visitation opened, the area had begun its rapid development. All Hallows College had opened in 1842 and Clonliffe College opened in 1854. The Archbishop was not to move from Rutland (now Parnell Square) to the present Archbishop's House - designed by our good friend William Hague - until 1891. The Church of the Visitation was among the later designs of our good friend Patrick Byrne. In 1879, the new Parish of Fairview was erected. In the late 1920s and 1930s, the area just to the north and east of Fairview Church was developed for housing and the new Church of St. Vincent de Paul on Griffith Avenue completed in 1928 as the chapel of ease - forming its own Parish in 1942.