The Black Church (St Mary’s Chapel of Ease) Image from the Dublin City Council Photographic Collection
The Black Church, St Mary’s Place, was built in 1830, and was a Parish Church for the Church of Ireland community in this north city area. It closed as a place of worship in the 1960s. Its interior is unusual in that it consists of a single arched space. Legend has it that anyone running three times around the Black Church (in some versions the deed must be done at midnight) in an anti-clockwise direction will see the devil. As the church now stands as an island in the flow of Dublin traffic anyone who risks running around it three times is more likely to be mown down by a speeding car than see any supernatural entities. The origin of the legend is unknown, but the church certainly has a gloomy air, both inside and outside. The poet Austin Clarke, who grew up in this area, gave the title Twice Around the Black Church to a volume of his memoirs.