Three maps, Rocque's Map, 1756; "New Map of the City of Dublin 1835" & Ordnance Survey May, 1838, show that St. Nicholas of Myra was not built on a main street, but in a relatively inconspicuous position between two streets, Plunket Street (new John Dillon Street) to the east and Francis Street to the west. A short lane, Chapel Lane, (now part of the church courtyard) led from Francis Street to the church. Although, when the present church was erected in 1829 it was no longer necessary for Catholic churches to be concealed, the site was chosen for historical reasons.

In her article "A Hidden Church?" Nuala burke describes the earlier chapel in Francis Street, the chapel built by the Franciscans in the latter part of the 17th century. Standing on the same partially hidden site, this appears to have been a well built chapel rather than a building adapted as a chapel. It was the late 17th century chapel that was subsequently replaced by the present Church of St. Nicholas of Myra, when the Rev. Matthew Flanagan, appointed Parish Priest in 1827, decided to erect a new church.


It can be seen on the 1838 Map that there is a building situated at the south-east corner of the church which is named "Independent Chapel". On Rocque's Map, this is marked P.M.H. (Presbyterian Meeting House). It does not appear on the "New Map". This old Presbyterian Meeting House, which had formed part of the continuous religious associations of the site, was demolished during the realignment of Plunket Street/John Dillon Street. However, before its demise, the old House underwent some striking changes. It came under the influence of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon.

Shortly after Dr. Flanagan's arrival in Francis Street, as Parish Priest, (in 1827) he decided to enlarge the existing church, an oblong building 80ft x 40ft. During the course of this extension, when the east wall and north and south transepts had been erected, Fr. Flanagan decided to build a totally new church. To this end he had demolished the remainder of the old walls and built his church extending to the west from the newly erected east wall and transepts.

Our thanks to Millie Lawler for her permission to reproduce this extract from her thesis.








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