1720 – St. Ann’s Church, Dawson St., Dublin

Architect: Isaac Wills


The original design for St. Ann’s Church, Dawson St., was never completed as designed here. Started in 1720, construction finished on the facade short of the eaves, and remained that way until William Murray suggested a design for a tower and spire in 1828. This was also never constructed, and nothing happened to the incomplete facade until 1868. A new Lombardo-Romanesque facade was added to the church by Sir Thomas Newenham Deane, and this also, was never completed.

Described in ‘A view of antient and modern Dublin, with its latest improvements’ published in 1807: “Saint Anne’s church in Dawson street seems to be the fairest church in Dublin, where magnificence of display is corrected by simplicity of design. Its front, copied from a church at Rome, consists of a range of Doric pilastres with regular entablature; but the original design was never completed.”

In 1866 when a limited competition to design a replacement facade was announced, The Dublin Builder remarked that “A good deal of unnecessary sentiment is being wasted over the proposed destruction of what there is of the existing front. The venerable antiquity of a hundred years and some elegancies of detail are not sufficient merits to counterbalance an unremarkable design in a state of hideous incompletion.”