Mariners' Church, Dún Laoghaire

Coordinates: 53°17′32″N 6°7′55.4″W / 53.29222°N 6.132056°W / 53.29222; -6.132056

Mariners' Church
Protestant Episcopal Mariners' Church
Location Haigh Terrace, Dún Laoghaire
Country Ireland
Denomination Church of Ireland
Founded 1836
Consecrated 25 June 1843
Architect(s) Joseph Welland
Completed 1843
Closed Easter 1972
Length 35.5 metres
Width 16.3 metres
Nave width 29.8 metres
Height 18 metres

The Mariners' Church is a former Church of Ireland church located in Haigh Terrace, near the centre of Dún Laoghaire town, southeast of Dublin city. It now houses the National Maritime Museum of Ireland.

Early History

The church was built by subscription in 1836, in pursuance of a donation of £1000 for its endowment, for seafarers as the "Protestant Episcopal Mariners' Church at Kingstown Harbour".[1] Due to the increasing importance of Kingstown (as the town was then known) and its harbour, it was considered necessary to have a Church to look after the spiritual needs of officers and sailors. The church, designed by the architect Joseph Welland (1798-1860), was consecrated on 25 June 1843. This initial build consisted of just the nave and transepts. Richard Brooke, the first chaplain, described it as "large and gaunt and lofty and ugly a satire on taste, a libel of all ecclesiastical rule, mocking at proportion and symmetry".[2] From 1862 until 1867, the building was improved by the addition of the spire and lancet windows. The spire, designed by Raffles Browne, was added in 1865.[3] The chancel was added in 1884. It was then the principal Church of Ireland church in the town. It depended for its upkeep to a large extent on voluntary subscriptions, donations, bequests and the results of fund-raising efforts.

Later History

Much-needed renovations were carried out in 1870, after several fund-raising efforts by the parishioners. However, further work was needed by 1884, to be carried out by Bolton of Rathmines under the direction of architect Thomas Drew (1838-1910). During this work, an accident occurred on 10 September. Scaffolding collapsed when two men were plastering the ceiling, 50 feet (15.2 m) above ground. One, Hemp, died soon afterwards; the other was seriously injured. The church re-opened on 14 October 1884.[4] In the mid-20th century, the congregation dwindled, and the church closed for worship on Easter 1972.

Maritime Museum

Shortly after the church closed the Maritime Institute of Ireland showed an interest in acquiring the church for use as a museum. In 1974 lease was signed between Church of Ireland officials and the Maritime Institute. The National Maritime Museum of Ireland was opened by President Patrick Hillery in 1978. In 2007 the Institute bought the building. Renovations were completed in 2011 which included improvements to the roof, interior, and electrical systems.

Notable parishioners

Memorial in the church to Richard Brooke.

Chaplains and Incumbents


  1. Samuel Lewis: Topography of Ireland, 1837
  2. A Short History of The Mariners Church. National Maritime Museum of Ireland.
  3. Maritime Museum
  4. Irish Times, Dublin, 15 October 1884
  5. Boylan, Henry (1998). A Dictionary of Irish Biography, 3rd Edition. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan. p. 40. ISBN 0-7171-2945-4.
  6. Irish Times, Dublin, 29 January 1880
  7. John de Courcy Ireland: Lifeboats in Dublin Bay. RNLI Dún Laoghaire, ISBN 0-9533540-0-8
  8. Irish Times, Dublin, 13 January 1890
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