Cemetery Chapel


The Chapel of Glasnevin Cemetery



The mortuary chapel in Glasnevin Cemetery was designed by James Joseph McCarthy RHA (1817-1882), an admirer and follower of Augustus Pugin. It replaced an earlier chapel built in 1842 which had been designed by the original architect of the cemetery Patrick Byrne (1783-1864).

The present chapel is Hiberno-Romanesque in style, a symbol of the new Catholic Ireland of the late nineteenth century. The chapel comprises a nave, sanctuary, two transepts and a sacristy. The west porch or main entrance is entered through three arches. The interior walls are of Bath stone, covered by an arched wooden ceiling. The windows are of stained glass executed by Messrs. Clayton and Bell of Regent Street in London. They depict the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Ascension and the Last Judgement. A further three windows depict Jesus raising to life the daughter of Jairus, the widow's son of Naim and Lazarus. The altar, the work of Mr P. Neal of Great Brunswick Street is made of Caen stone and black marble. The brass communion rails which are supported on elaborate wrought iron panels were made by J. McLoughlin of Cuffe Street. The floor area is covered in Minton's encaustic tiles. All the fixed carving within the chapel was executed by the well known firm of James Pearse and sons, Great Brunswick Street.

Both Portland stone and Wicklow granite were used in the exterior walls, which were elaborately carved and moulded with arches, shafts and sculptured heads. A round tower attached to the north side of the nave serves as a belfry. Welsh slates, laid in bands of varied colours cover the roof. The architects J. J. McCarthy and Patrick Byrne are both interred in Glasnevin as is the stonemason James Pearse.

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