Mount Merrion has a well recorded history!
The Norman Fitzwilliam Family arrived in Mount Merrion in 1210 and soon built a castle. The family, through the 5th Viscount Fitzwilliam, replaced the ruined Castle in 1711 with Mount Merrion House. The 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam bequeathed the house and lands to his cousin the 11th Earl of Pembroke (Wales). In 1918 the Pembroke Estate, sold Mount Merrion House and 300 acres for housing development which took place from the 1930s onwards.
Our own Parish/Church has developed in effect in parallel with the growing population since the 1930s. In 2016 we celebrated our Church’s Diamond Jubilee -60 years young!
However, our earlier Church development in the area makes interesting reading. As far back as 1787, Booterstown, Blackrock, Stillorgan (including Mount Merrion!) and Dundrum separated from the Parish of Donnybrook to form a new Parish of Booterstown. A Chapel of Ease was built in Dundrum (1813) and in Kilmacud (1867) – as both areas were quite a distance from the main Booterstown Parish Church. (Chapel of Ease is a Church built at some distance to the Parish Church for ease of attendance by parishioners). In 1879 the Church of the Holy Cross, Dundrum was opened and Dundrum and Kilmacud separated from Booterstown. We became a central part of the story when in 1935 the then Archbishop of Dublin acquired Mount Merrion House and some land for the sum of £2,000 ,on a 900 year lease at a ground rent of one shilling per annum. Part of Mount Merrion House became a Chapel of Ease for Mount Merrion dedicated to St. Therese of Lisieux. Another part of the House became Scoil San Treasa, our Parish Primary School. On 29th April, 1948 Mount Merrion and Kilmacud separated from Dundrum and became a new parish.
Our story found real concrete expression when, in 1953, the foundation was laid for our Church of St. Therese. The Church was dedicated and opened on 19 February 1956 by the then Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. J.C. McQuaid. The basic building cost £139,000. The Altar, seats, statues etc. cost £60,000.There were many different fundraising events held in the Parish. There was a subscription campaign open to the general public. The Rose Book in the Oratory of St. Therese (in the south transept) has the names of all who contributed to the original building – and to the renovation in 2006.
In 1964, Mount Merrion (St Therese) and Kilmacud (St. Laurence O’Toole) became separate Parishes.
In 2006 the Church was renovated, redecorated and reconfigured, at a cost of €2 million.
And what happened to the part of the Mount Merrion House which had become the Chapel of Ease and the earlier Scoil San Treasa? Well, it became our refurbished and upgraded Community Centre which was officially opened by Mary McAleese the then President of Ireland in 2003. And busily in use by all the Community today throughout the week.
We are now a lively Faith Community, drawing on the faith and hard work of those who have gone before us, and building together in faith for the future.