Saint Mark's

Saint Mark's

In Brief

As the funeral carriages roll up Great Brunswick Street in Hades, they go "past the bleak pulpit of saint Mark's," a Church of Ireland parish church on Mark Street, just west of the Antient Concert Rooms. The strangeness of being able to see the pulpit from the street is explained by the fact that in 1893 an outdoor pulpit was erected in the graveyard between the two buildings. It was destroyed by a great windstorm in 1899––hence "bleak."

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St. Mark's was built in the middle of the 18th century. By the middle of the 19th it was in poor condition and surrounded by a high wall which blocked all views of the grounds. In a page on James Joyce Online Notes John Simpson tells the story of how Edmond Robinson, a new vicar hired by the church in 1890, set about restoring the interior of the church and improving the grounds outside it. In 1892-93 the delapidated wall was torn down and replaced with railings, the grounds were leveled and replanted, and an open-air pulpit was erected in the southeast corner of the graveyard. These changes improved the exterior appearance of the church and also allowed for open-air preaching, Robinson being active in an organization called the Open-Air Mission for Ireland.

In November 1899, however, a huge gale took down trees in the area and snapped the pedestal of the pulpit, leaving only a bare foundation. Reverend Robinson continued open-air meetings on the site until 1900, but then left for another church. In 1971 the Church of Ireland decommissioned the building, which is now a Pentecostal church.

JH 2023
St. Mark's church and the Antient Concert Rooms on Great Brunswick Street (bottom of image). Source:
The high wall of St. Mark's along Great Brunswick depicted in Shaw's Dublin Pictorial Guide & Directory (1850). Source:
St. Mark's today. Source: Wikimedia Commons.