Irishtown lies a short distance outside the medieval city walls of Dublin. Dublin was originally a Viking city and after 1171, when an Anglo-Norman army took it, Dublin became the centre of English rule in Ireland. The native Gaelic Irish were therefore viewed as an alien force in the city. Suspicion of them was deepened by continual raids on Dublin and its environs by the O’Byrne and O’Toole clans from the nearby Wicklow Mountains.
The Establishment & Growth of St. Patrick’s Ringsend
Ringsend, as a separate parochial unit, is of comparatively recent origin. But its ecclesiastical history has its roots deep in the past.
Up to the year 1876, says Bishop Donnelly in his erudite History of Dublin Parishes, the four parishes of Irishtown, Donnybrook, Ringsend and Sandymount, formed but one. Donnybrook, anciently Domhnach Broc, i.e., Church of Broc, was formerly the designation of a village of very ancient origin clustered around a church founded by a holy woman named Broc, and dedicated (according to tradition) to the Blessed Mother of God.
And Still another Church
On April 13th, 1858, Dr. O’Connell laid the first stone. On May 2nd following, he held a Public meeting in the School room, Ringsend, in which he unfolded his project of erecting a church to be dedicated to the Apostle of Ireland, and which would place the consolations of religion within the reach of the crowded population of the locality. A subscription list was opened, and met with such ready response that the new church, costing £800, was opened on July 14th, 1859, by His Grace, Archbishop Cullen.