Saint Catherine's Church on Thomas Street in Dublin was originally constructed in 1185, the front is built of granite stone, with 4 Doric-columns supporting a pediment, in 1670 five bells were hung in the orignial belfry. The church was rebuilt in its present form in the
18th century betwen 1760 and 1769 , at a time when there were approximately 10,000 inhabitants in the local parish.
Originally a spire & steeple were also planned, but this was not completed. In 1803 the church was the site of Robert Emmett's execution.
Saint Catherines church, Thomas Street, Dublin, Ireland, photos by Al Geraty ©.
Robert Emmett was born in Dublin on 4 March 1778. While studing at Trinity College Dublin he joined the College Historical Society which was a
debating society, however when he later became involved with the United Irish society he was expelled.
Following the 1798 rising he became involved with
re-organising the society & the British Authorities subsequently issued a warrant for his arrest, he escaped & travelled abroad seeking militarty aid for a
rebellion & returned to Ireland in October 1802. On July 23rd 1803 Robert Emmett launched a minor rising in Dublin which was quashed
within a short time by the British military forces with a loss of fifty rebels & 20 Crown forces.
Following the ill-fated rising, on 19 September Emmet was found guilty of high treason and sentenced to death.
During the course of his brief trial Emmett made a memorable speech from the dock which includes the immortal lines -
"Let no man write my epitaph: for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them. let not prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them and me repose in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, until other times, and other men, can do justice to my character; when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written."
Emmett was hung & beheaded on September 20th 1803 outside Saint Catherine's Church.
The scene at Robert Emmett's execution outside St. Catherines Church, 1803.
Thomas Street, Dublin. Saint Catherines church photos © irelandposters.com.