Map-04 Church of the Sacred Heart
There are very few records from 1630 until the eighteenth century in relation to the development of a Catholic parish at Donnybrook. In 1615 The Catholic Church in Kilkenny held a Provincial Synod where it was decided, among other things, to re-constitute the parishes in Dublin. From 1617 to 1787 Booterstown, Blackrock, Stillorgan, Kilmacud and Dundrum, were all pre-Reformation sub parishes of Donnybrook. In the eighteenth century the Archbishop of Dublin, John Troy, created a parish consisting of Booterstown, Blackrock, Stillorgan and Dundrum. Donnybrook retained Ballsbridge, Ringsend and Irishtown, and a Fr Nicholson was appointed parish priest. Shortly afterwards Archbishop Troy decided a new chapel was needed in Donnybrook and he appointed Fr Peter Clinch to the parish. A new chapel for Catholics was built in 1787 beside the Protestant Church of St Mary In Donnybrook Graveyard, and it too was called St Mary’s. The wall of this church is the wall dividing the graveyard from the Garda Station in the village. This church remained in use until the Church of the Sacred Heart, the present Catholic Church, opened in 1866 facing the site of the Donnybrook Fair, now the home of Bective and Old Wesley Rugby Football Clubs. During the years when there was no Catholic Church in Donnybrook,the Old Catholic families like the Fitzwilliams, the Archbolds, and the Wolverstons, provided sanctuary for priests who celebrated Mass in the chapels attached to their homes.