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32 Years in Rathmines

Reflection by Canon Neil McEndoo,
on his retirement as Rector of Rathmines with Harold’s Cross.

Having lived and worked in Rathmines now for over 32 years, and now preparing to move on I have been asked to share some reflections on the changes I have seen in those years. Holy Trinity Church has been a feature of Rathmines since 1828. It pre-dates the houses around it. It was substantially re-built in the mid-1880s to cater for a growing population. A little over a century later the church was re-built inside to provide a worship area for about 250 people, and a meeting rooms and halls on two levels. This has made for a building that is used 7 days a week rather than the few hours per week during service times. This was a necessary development to keep the parish solvent financially. Harold’s Cross has also been part of this parish since 1977. The church there closed in 2001, and re-opened as a Russian Orthodox Church in 2002. The Russians have since purchased the church building. My work has divided my time between Rathmines and Harold’s Cross. I have served as Chaplain at the Hospice in Harold’s Cross for 35 years. I have watched it grow and develop and change greatly during those years.

Seven years ago the parish started what was then called a ‘Fresh Expressions’ service, aimed mainly at the younger age group. Many students live in Rathmines and some find it a lonely experience living in ‘bed-sits.’ This was one way of trying to address that, and it draws in many students and young professionals as well as some older people. There is now a worship music group, and the text of the services are projected onto a screen. This has been a worthwhile initiative headed up by Rev. Rob Jones who was appointed Vicar for this purpose.

One of my memories having moved into the Rectory just before Christmas 1984 was of lights going out in houses nearby as people left their flats for the Christmas holidays. It was noticeable for many years that at holiday periods, and bank holiday week-ends, the area was almost deserted at times. That has changed as more houses have gone back into private residences. There seems to be more people around at all times of the year, many from different cultural backgrounds.

 The Church of Ireland College of Education, now sadly gone from the area being part of DCU, and Kildare Place School which has happily remained, have also been part of my brief. I have enjoyed my involvement with both of those institutions.

We are living in changing times, and the churches are not immune to that. While our congregations have decreased numerically, and the 12 o’clock service congregation constantly changes, Holy Trinity church is still a centre of activity serving the church and the wider community. It is my hope and prayer that it will continue to do so for many years to come.