SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER CHURCH

GARDINER STREET CHURCH SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER CHURCH

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Saint Francis Xavier Church, popularly known as Gardiner Street Church, is a Roman Catholic Church on Upper Gardiner Street, near Mountjoy Square. The church is operated by the Jesuits.

Designed by Father Bartholomew Esmonde SJ and erected by the architect Joseph B. Keane as a Classical cut granite stone essay, the first stone was laid on 2 July 1829, the year of Catholic Emancipation. The church was opened on 3 May 1832. Architectural critic Christine Casey describes it in her book, Dublin, as "the most elegant church of the period in Dublin".The building is known for its collection, sculpted altar piece, and paintings, mostly Italian in origin and dating from the Victorian period. The design of St Francis Xavier Church reflects Father B. Esmonde's knowledge of the temples of Italy acquired during his residency there.

In 1889 the funeral was held here for the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The church features in James Joyce's short story "Grace" from Dubliners and in the 1991 film The Commitments where the church organ is used to play A Whiter Shade of Pale.


Commenced in 1792 and finished around 1820, Gardiner Street was developed by Luke Gardiner as part of his grand vision which was to see a crescent built where the Mater Hospital now stands. Georgian terraces remain at the lower end approaching the Custom House, at Mountjoy Square and in surrounding streets.