Brief history of St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral

Opened in 1825, neoclassical architecture St Mary’s Church is called St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral or just Pro-Cathedral. St. Mary’s Pro- Cathedral is a witness to lots of significant moments in religious and political history of Ireland. The St. Mary’s Church was built when Ireland was ruled by British and with the majority being protestants, it was decided that St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral shouldn’t be built on central O’Connell Street, so Catholic Church was constructed a bit hidden away, on a back-street site and out of view.

St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral is one of the modern church buildings in Dublin

The all six Doric columns, modeled on the Temple of Theseus in Athens, support a pediment with statues of St. Laurence O’Toole, Dublin Archbishop in 12th and patron saint of the city, St. Patrick and St. Mary.


The real St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral beauty lies in the church’s interiors– high ornamented domed ceilings catch everyone’s eyes as well as beautiful décor and realistic paintings, an altar by sculptor Peter Turnerelli and the high relief representation of the Ascension by John Smyth. Every day people come in for a prayer and to light a candle for those, who aren’t between us anymore. During the summer months, Sunday masses are attended by a massive amount of tourists and residents. You can take part in a daily mass being at your own home, as the mass is broadcasted through the cameras on Sundays and every day at 11 am, thanks to MCN media.

St. Mary’s Church is not a Cathedral, as once Christ Church Cathedral was build, the pope designated it as Dublin Catholic cathedral, even though it has been Protestant for long years, this hasn’t changed anything. Another reason is that city can have just one Catholic cathedral, so St. Mary Church can’t take the status away until Christ Church’s status is cancelled. However, St. Mary’s church is the centre of life in Catholic Dublin.

St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral highlights

Palestrina choir and A Girls’ choir

St. Mary church’s Palestrina Choir is one of the highlights in church’s history and is that factor that attracts thousands to this house of God. You, most likely, wandering what would be the best time to hear this choir. If you come for Sunday mass at 11.00am, you’ll hear Palestrina Choir.
In 1904, Ireland’s best tenor John McCormack began his career in Palestrina Choir.
If you want to hear Girls’ choir, be there for Sunday mass at 10.00am.
St. Mary’s church is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church in the country.

This spiritual place is an attraction for all, big and small, if you want to see the heart of Dublin and say a prayer or light up a candle in a living church. Visit this heaven of peace, regardless if you’re religious or not. Pure serenity and a place for your memories and deep thought.


Dublin Kids Tip: if there is an entrance fee for Christ Church and St. Patrick Church, the admission is free to St. Mary’s Church Pro-Cathedral.

St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral: the Highlights Working Hours
  • Monday08:00 - 17:00
  • Tuesday08:00 - 17:00
  • Wednesday08:00 - 17:00
  • Thursday08:00 - 17:00
  • Friday08:00 - 17:00
  • Saturday10:30 - 18:00
  • Sunday09:30 - 18:00
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