William Ritchie, Vicar
St Bartholomew's Church is located close to the American Embassy in Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. This beautiful church was consecrated in 1867. Many of its original features are well maintained, including the Sanctuary mosaics on the walls and the elaborate wrought iron Choir Screen. The architect was Thomas Wyat, referred to by John Betjeman as 'one of the dullest Victorian architects.' Since 1867 there have been eleven Vicars, amongst them Bishop Harry Vere White (1905), Bishop John Neil (1975) and Dean John Paterson (1972); and twenty-nine Curates, amongst them Archbishop George Simms (1935), Bishop Roderick Coote (1938) and Bishop Richard Clarke (1977).
St Bartholomew's celebrates a fine musical tradition and has had eight musical directors. The Choir of St Bartholomew's Church, founded 130 years ago, is made up of about 40 gentlemen and boy choristers. Their function is to sing at the Sung Eucharist on Sundays, as well as at special services for major festivals in the Church calendar. This church is one of the few in the Church of Ireland to maintain a tradition of choral services sung by an all-male choir. The Choir's repertoire is fully representative of the major styles of choral music ranging from the 16th century to the present day.
In 1989, the Choir made its first trip to England, where it was responsible for singing the daily services in Ripon Cathedral during Easter week. Since then the Choir has sung in Hereford Cathedral twice, Exeter Cathedral, Lichfield Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral, the Church of La Madeleine and St Sulplice in Paris, Worcester Cathedral, St David's Cathedral and Gloucester Cathedral. The Choir has also sung at several concerts in high-profile musical venues such as the Waterfront Hall in Belfast and the National Concert Hall in Dublin. This year it visits Cork city where it will sing Services in St Finbarre's Cathedral.
The boy choristers attend on Sunday mornings from 10:45-12:45, Wednesday evenings from 19:00-20:15 and Friday evenings from 18:00-19:15. The gentlemen do not attend on Wednesday but stay on later on Friday evenings. During July and August all practices are normally suspended. Regular attendance is essential to maintain standards, and membership of the Choir is undertaken in the awareness of this commitment. The reputation of the Choir can only be maintained with the maximum support of each of its members. Having said that, consideration is given to family commitments such as holidays which might interfere with normal attendance.
The choir's first CD was launched at the Hugh Lane Gallery on 5 November 1998 by Alexander Anissimov, principal conductor of the RTE Symphony Orchestra.
The organ in St Bartholomew's was built in 1887 by Gray and Davison. It was rebuilt in 1925 and again in 1963. It is now being rebuilt again. The original Victorian soundboards are being replaced and the specifications refined. This is a very exciting project for the modern day Parishioners. Meanwhile, the singing is accompanied by a piano.
A Guide to Music in St Bartholomew's can be found in The Irish Times and on the Choir website, www.bannister.org/choir
St Bartholomew's is firmly in the High Church tradition. Few parishioners live in the Parish of St Bartholomew's. Many make the weekly pilgrimage from as far away as Wicklow town and Malahide for the fine music and elaborate ceremony. Of course everyone is welcome to come to our Services. Regular updates are placed on the notice board on the Clyde Road gate, while the main board gives details of normal Service rota. Click here to view normal service times.
Since 1972, St Bartholomew's has been linked to Christ Church, Leeson Park, first opened for public worship in 1862.When Methodist Centenary Church, St Stephen's Green, was destroyed by fire in 1968, it accepted an invitation to worship in Christ Church. It has remained there since and both congregations come together for a Joint Service on the third and fifth Sundays of the month and at the Great Festivals of the Church. They have just had a major discussion on the church of Ireland/Methodist Draft Covenant.
Ministry in this Parish offers great scope and fulfilment. We have an 'open door' policy where everyone is treated equally in obedience to Our Lord's command and example. Do feel free to join us for any service or event.