The Oratory, Dún Laoghaire

This summer you can visit The Oratory in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. And it’s FREE!

It’s a hidden gem of Celtic revival art. A treasure of Dún Laoghaire, the Oratory of the Sacred Heart was built in 1919 for peace after the World War I and to commemorate all men from local community who lost their lives between 1914-1918. It is the masterpiece of Sister Concepta Lynch, who devoted much of her spare time to decorating it with elaborate, colorful designs. There are also stained glass windows from Harry Clarke Workshop.

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Sister Concepta Lynch was born Lily Lynch in 1874.  Growing up, she learned the art of illumination from her father Thomas Joseph Lynch who had a shop on Middle Abbey Street in Dublin and developed the “Lynch Method” and was known as a king of Celtic Art. Following her father’s death she successfully maintained his business for several years before entering a Dominican convent in Dun Laoghaire in 1896. She taught music and art in the convent, using the “Lynch Method” to instruct her pupils in calligraphy and illumination. Sister Concepta Lynch worked on her masterpiece between 1920 and 1936. During the day she taught music and art in the convent school and in the evenings she worked on the Oratory. She died in 1939 leaving the ceiling of the Oratory partially painted.

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The tiny building located behind Bloomfield Shopping centre, off Library Road is hidden within a larger building. ‘The shell’ is protecting it from any environmental and structural damage since 1990s. It belonged to a Dominican Convent that sold its grounds in 1990s to a private developer. Local artists and groups of local representatives campaigned for The Oratory to be preserved in its original shape. Michael D. Higgins, at the time Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, approved the decision to keep The Oratory in the same place and the funding was obtained from UE for the project. The Oratory remains well preserved and has won numerous architectural awards.

All you need to know:

  • FREE Tours every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (01.07.2015-06.09.2015)
  • Hourly from 2pm-5pm ( 4 tours per day)
  • Guided Tour Duration: 40 min (including 10 min DVD Presentation)
  • Max capacity: 15 people
  • Entrance from Library Road, beside the children’s playground (click here for the map)
  • You can get here by dart from city centre or by bus: 7, 46a from city centre and 75 from Tallaght

You can visit The Oratory thanks to Summer of Heritage 2015 organised by DLR. Strongly recommended.

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