United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough

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‘The Doctor, the Countess and the Organist’ – 1916 tales from St John’s Sandymount

The dissonant narratives of Dr Charles de Burgh Daly of the Royal Army Medical Corps who was fired upon by Countess Markievicz in Dublin in April 1916, and of rebel organist Cecil Grange MacDowell, will feature in a Heritage Week exhibition at St John’s Church, Park Avenue, Sandymount from Thursday 25th August to Sunday 28th August. The event will close on Sunday 28th August with a recital by St John’s organist, Eoghan Ward, and uileann piper Fionn Ó hAlmhain, featuring music from both narratives, including pieces by MacDowell.   

St John's Sandymount
St John's Sandymount

The exhibition is part of the commemorative programme 1916–2016 and reflects the connections of St. John’s and its people with the events of 1916 both at home and abroad. Principally it focuses on the lives of both Dr De Burgh Daly, his immediate family and the loss of his son Charlie during the Battle of the Somme, and that of Cecil Grange MacDowell, who had been organist at St John’s, who changed his name to Cathal Mac Dubhghaill, forsook his unionist background, joined the rebellion and wrote the first arrangement of the National Anthem.

The exhibition will recall other elements in the life of St John’s as they occurred during 1916 including the launch of a book by Emily French De Burgh Daly, wife of Dr De Burgh Daly and sister of the songwriter Percy French, titled An Irishwoman in China describing the period when the Dalys lived there.  It will include Portals of Unpreparedness, a display told through words, maps and watercolours of the arrival of the Sherwood Foresters in Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire), and their march to Dublin and the Battle of Mount Street Bridge. It is the work of artist Peter Derbyshire and writer Leo Cullen.

This event is organized by St John the Evangelist Church with funding from Dublin City Council 1916 Commemoration Fund for Communities, and sponsors Charles U. Daly, Charles Lysaght and Peggy O’Driscoll.

Admission to all events is free and everyone is welcome. Opening hours are:

Thursday 25th, Friday 26th and Saturday 27th August:

Exhibition:                  10am to 4pm


Sunday 28th August:

Exhibition:                  12noon to 3pm

Recital:                       3pm to 4pm

St John’s Church is located on Park Avenue, Sandymount. Sydney Parade is the nearest DART Station. Buses 1 and 47 stop at the church. Buses 4, 7, and 8 stop nearby (Ailesbury Road stop).

Photo: St John’s Church, Sandymount, by Fergus Martin.

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