About the Church: The Porch and AtriumThe church was constructed in the gardens beside and behind number 87 St Stephen’s Green. The house itself, unfortunately no longer in the possession of the church having served as its presbytery until 1988 when it was sold, was built in 1730 and remained in good structural condition.
Access to the church is through a Romanesque porch erected a few years after the church itself. It was constructed of polychromatic brick with short columns and cushion-capitals bearing the symbols of the four Evangelists and six angelic figures. Above the main door is a richly coloured arch with three small windows and an ornamental metal cross. The porch was a gift to the church from Fr William H Anderdon (1816-1890), whom Newman appointed as chaplain to University Church in 1856. Like Newman, Anderdon had been an Anglican priest who converted to Catholicism and who was a nephew of the Archbishop of Westminster, Henry Edward (later Cardinal) Manning (1808-1892) – another convert to Catholicism. Fr Anderdon remained as chaplain until 1863.
Above the porch is a small belfry. The original bell is now in the administration block of the Belfield Campus but a set of electronic chimes, a gift from John and Isobel Foley who have a long association with the Church, is housed in the belfry.
On leaving the porch one enters the atrium by six descending steps. This contains a number of wall plaques including, on the left hand side, one to Eugene O’Curry (1794-1862), first professor of archaeology at the University, and another in Irish in memory of the nationalist Máire de Paor who died in 1916. On the right hand wall, a plaque commemorates the co-founders of the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland – the priest brothers Thomas Joseph Farrell, who died in 1940, and Ernest RS Farrell who died in 1955. Another plaque is a memorial to Michael Charles Aughney, a student and auditor of the University’s Literary and Historical Society, who died in 1872. Glass cases contain items of Newman interest.