Penal church ruins found at Apollo 
House site

Penal church ruins found at Apollo 
House site Archaeological works ongoing on Monday at the site where Apollo House previously stood. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni/The Irish Times

The ruins of a large Catholic church which operated during Penal times 300 years ago has been discovered in central Dublin this week. It was found at the site of Apollo house, an office block on Tara Street which homelessness campaigners occupied over Christmas three years ago.

The developer of the site, Marlet, was mandated to hire archaeologists to carry out excavations and who discovered ruins of a secret church for Catholics during penal times in the south inner city. An archaeological report prepared for the developer states there was probably a building used as a chapel from the foundation of St Andrew’s parish in 1709. In 1811 the parish had grown and it was decided that the chapel would have to be reconstructed. Work was stalled in 1831 after considerable progress due to a split in the ranks of the faithful.

According to the Irish Times a newly appointed priest of St Andrew’s Parish found “a more desirable site for a new church was available on wasteland at a more central location in the parish on Westland Row”.