SATURDAY 24 FEBRUARY 2024
The Church of the Sacred Heart at Arbour Hill, located in Dublin 7, holds historical and symbolic significance. Here are the key details:
The church was given the title “Church of the Defence Forces” in 1997 when Collins Barracks (located across the road) closed. Historically, this location is significant because it houses the remains of leaders who died during the Easter Rising of 1916, including Pearse and Connolly.
The church forms part of a tripartite façade known as Arbour Hill Prison.
It is linked to the prison’s main entrance by screen walls extending to the Governor’s House.
Designed by Jacob Owen in 1835 and later rebuilt by Joshua Webb in 1845, the complex was completed in 1848.
The interior features an elaborate cruciform design and a stained glass window by the Harry Clarke Studios behind the altar.
An unusual entrance porch leads to twin galleries for visitors in the nave and transept.
The church also boasts a Celtic round tower rising from a rectangular base.
The military cemetery at Arbour Hill is the last resting place of 14 of the executed leaders of the 1916 Rising. It is therefore a place of pilgrimage for students and aficionados of this tempestuous moment in Irish history.
The clear focus of Arbour Hill is the legend of the rising. Among those buried here are Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and Major John MacBride. Their bodies were put into an unmarked pit and covered with quicklime, but their grave has now been saved from obscurity with an impressive memorial inscribed in English and Irish.
Arbour Hill Cemetery is at the rear of the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, where you can currently find a large display of 1916-related material.