St. Kevin's Park, Dublin
Tucked away on Camden Row between Camden and Heytesbury Streets is a hidden gem St. Kevin’s Park. The original church dates back to 1226 and was subsequently extended and re-built in 1750. Both churches were dedicated to St. Kevin of Glendalough.
The church is the burial site of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley of Cashel. He was arrested by the authorities on his return from Rome in 1583 on suspicion of treason. He was executed in June 1584. St. Kevins quickly became a place of pilgrimage for the Catholic population. Others buried here include Hugh Leeson, whose family gave its name to Leeson St. They became Earls of Milltown and their country residence was Russborough House near Blessington Co. Wicklow. Thomas Moore, often referred to as “The National Bard of Ireland “maintained a burial plot for his family here although he died and is buried in Wiltshire in England. The Moore plot is clearly identified in the park to this day.
In 1698, during penal times when Catholic worship was outlawed, the church was offered to The Huguenots as a place of worship and cemetery, but Catholics continued to be buried there until the late 1800’s.
The Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, was baptised here. When the church finally closed in 1912 the baptismal font was given to The Taney Parish Church Dundrum where it remains to this day.
The park maintained now by the Parks Department of Dublin City Council and is open daily. It is a haven of tranquillity in an otherwise bustling part of the city full of history and deserving of a visit.