One thing that struck me as odd is that one section of the churched is fenced off … is it to protect the organ? The organ was built by T.W. Magahy in 1936 using pipework from the old Telford organ there. It was rebuilt in 1996 by Trevor Crowe Ltd. There are around 3,000 pipes in the organ, seventy of which are gilded and incorporated in the casework. It is claimed to be the largest pipe organ in a Catholic church in Dublin and is very highly regarded. Eoin Tierney M.A., B.A. (Mus) was the first organ scholar of Adam and Eve’s Church.
Because of my Grandmother’s hobby of visiting churches, despite the fact that the she was not really religious, I have been in almost every church in Dublin including this church which she referred to as Merchant’s Quay Church. However I never entered via the Cook Street entrance until today mainly because the gate was always locked when I visited Cook Street,
The Church of the Immaculate Conception, also known as Adam and Eve’s, is a Roman Catholic church run by the Franciscans and it is located on Merchants Quay, Dublin.
During the Dissolution reign of King Henry VIII around 1540 the Friary at Francis Street, the site of the current church of St. Nicholas of Myra (Without), Francis Street, was confiscated and the community was dispersed. In 1615 a new friary was built on Cook Street. A chapel on the site was destroyed in 1619 and later rebuilt. The Franciscans secretly said Mass in the Adam and Eve Tavern, where the popular name of the present church comes from. In 1759 a newer church was built, which was later replaced by the current church.
After the Catholic Emancipation in 1829, they set about building a church and laid the foundation stone of the current church in 1834. The original design was by the architect Patrick Byrne who planned a tower on the Merchant’s Quay entrance. However due to financial problems the church was built without a nave or tower.
The church was originally dedicated to Saint Francis but in 1889 it was rededicated to the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.
After 1900, the church was reorganised with the moving of the altar to the left wall and the original sanctuary was changed into a transept and entrance from Cook Street. A small nave was added to the right and a dome built over the sanctuary.
In 1912 a shrine to Saint Anthony was built in 1912 to designs by the architects Doolin, Butler and Donnelly.
In 1926 to celebrate the seventh centenary of Saint Francis, the friars built a circular apse, remodelled the transepts and extended the nave with an entrance to Skippers Alley. The consecration of the high altar took place on 21 September 1928 by Dr. Paschal Robinson, titular Archbishop of Tyana (1870–1948).
Because of drugs related anti-social activity a degree of caution is advised should you choose to visit Cook Street. I would suggest that any of the sites that may be of interest can be better accessed via High street.
In the the early 1800s there were sixteen coffin makers in Cook Street.
A few years ago I took a guided tour of the area near Christ Church and the guide explained that because of the dangers of having fires within the city walls certain actives such as baking were undertaken in streets such as Cook Street which was outside the city walls.
Cook street [off Winetavern Street] is one of the older streets in Dublin and has been in existence since the 14th Century. According to many historians it was originally known as ‘Vicus Cocorum’ meaning ‘the street of the cooks’ and it was also described in early records and maps as ‘Le Coke Street’. It should be noted that a few sections of the Hiberno-Norse wall was discovered along Essex Street West and this street marks the line of the northern wall, which ran parallel to the Liffey, through the Civic Offices and along Cook Street where it still survives today. This limestone wall was substantial in size originally measuring c.7m in height by 2m wide, from stone quarried locally.
The present day Adam and Eve church takes its name from the Adam and Eve tavern on Cook Street where the Franciscans once held secret masses. Catholics posing as drinkers would be admitted by a guard on giving the password “I am going to the Adam and Eve”.
During the mid-19th Century, a Dublin publisher named John Nugent printed Old Moore’s Almanac in Cook Street. One of Nugent’s rivals referred to the almanac as ‘the Rushlight of Coffin Colony’. This was a reference to the fact that Cook Street was then the home of Dublin’s coffin makers.