Wander away from the ever bustling and busy street that is R114. Leave behind the reflective surface of the Grand Canal, and pass by the hipster coffee shops, fancy bars, and vintage stores of Camden Street. Instead, head down a little road by the name of ‘Camden Row’…
As much as I love beautiful locations, I’m inexplicably drawn to those places which are lost, forgotten, and more often than not, unloved. The hauntingly beautiful ruins of St Kevin’s Church on Camden Row are often missed in favour of more popular attractions in Dublin such as Marsh’s Library or the iconic park of St Stephen’s Green.
Though less visited than other green spaces in the city, the church is well worth a wander around if you’re interested in ecclesiastical history and urbex adventures. One friend recently joked that if she were to sum up my blog in one article, it would consist of a post about a ruined church surrounded by cherry blossoms, perhaps in a location with several museums and offbeat cafés nearby. Well, St Kevin’s Church on Camden Row is all this and more…
The Haunting Ruins of St Kevin’s, Camden Row: A Medieval Church in the Heart of Dublin
It’s worth noting that there are, in fact, two churches dedicated to Saint Kevin in the heart of Dublin (so bear that in mind if you’re looking up how to reach St Kevin’s Park from the city centre on any tour of unusual Dublin attractions!). While one is now in ruins, the other was constructed on Harrington Street during the Victorian era. St Kevin’s of Harrington Street was actually named for the nearby St Kevin’s on Camden Row
The now ruined St Kevin’s was first attested as early as the 13th-century, long before the historical city walls of Dublin reached this far away from the Irish capital’s centre. The original church was replaced by a new building in the 1750s, by which point, the church had become an Anglican one. During its centuries worth of operation, St Kevin’s saw plenty of history, meaning that there are several notable people still buried in the church’s cemetery.
Names of note now interred in the graveyard around St Kevin’s include the Moore Family (as in, relatives of Thomas Moore- the poet, singer, and songwriter), as well as iconic brewer Hugh Leeson, whose family went on to purchase a stately home in County Wicklow, as well as have a street in central Dublin named for them.
Today, the ruins of the church can be wandered around, though the former ecclesiastical building itself cannot be entered. A quick glimpse through the wrought iron bars that was once home to the church’s doorway revealed that the roofless church is now being used to store various bins and gardening equipment!