History of the Carmelite Monastery
“There is a tide in the affairs of men”, and in 1975 that tide brought the Carmelite Community to Malahide to continue here their contemplative witness to the presence and power of God in this 21st Century world.
The first evidence we have of the presence of the Carmelite nuns in Ireland is found in a reference in the Rinnucini Manuscripts and can be backdated to the 1640’s. Still in Dublin in 1661, they probably moved to Loughrea during the Williamite Wars (1690). In 1730, the Dublin Convent was refounded, first
in Fisher’s Lane (now St. Michan’s Avenue) and then on Arran Quay, where they kept a boarding school, as all nuns did at the time.
In 1788, the Community moved to Ranelagh, to the former Ranelagh Gardens and to a house in which the Protestant Bishop of Derry, Dr. William Barnard, had lived between 1757 and 1768. In their quiet home in the Dublin suburbs the Carmelites lived their contemplative life, as St. Teresa had wished, their prayers reaching out to the whole world, to all in sorrow and distress.
Thirteen Sisters came from Ranelagh in 1975 and were warmly welcomed and accepted into the Parish of Malahide, and the Carmelite Church at Seapark serves the Parish of St. Sylvester’s with Sunday Mass and weekday Masses.
In the year 2000, the Sisters opened the Edith Stein Prayer Room to facilitate individuals and groups for retreats or other religious purposes. The Carmelite Church is open daily until 6.pm The Sisters welcome those who wish to participate with them in prayer during the day.
Mon. – Fri: Morning Prayer 7am. followed by Mass at 7.30
Evening Prayer: 4.40 p.m.
We are a women’s contemplative community, part of the worldwide Carmelite family in the tradition of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. We trace our origin to a small group of Irish Women who came together in Dublin c. 1640 to begin living Carmel. Eventually they settled in Ranelagh and were there for almost 200 years until moving to Seapark, Malahide in 1975.
As Carmelite women we are totally dedicated to God in love for the service of all people. Our aim is to be a centre of peace, a sacred space in the archdiocese that calls people to prayer and the experience of communion with God. We are also available to listen to those who come in need of a word of comfort or support.
In 1975 when moving to Malahide the diocese requested that we build a church that would facilitate the parish for weekday and Sunday Masses. Since then we have striven to provide a service that enriches all who participate in the liturgy here. We also welcome people to spend time in silent prayer and/or to join us in celebrating the Divine Office (books provided).
Brief History of the Monastery of the Incarnation
Blanchardstown- Hampton, Drumcondra
On July 17th 1828, at the request of the parish priest of Blanchardstown, Fr. Joseph Joy Deane, Sr. Mary Francis de Sales Stuart left Firhouse Carmel with three other nuns to make the foundation of the Monastery of the Incarnation at Blanchardstown. They established the monastery in a building previously used as a junior seminary, which Fr. Deane had recently closed. Two postulants were received but there was disagreement about jurisdiction and in 1831 the incoming prioress, Mother Agnes Rafter, transferred to New Ross Carmel to be under the jurisdiction of the Order. The community dispersed to Firhouse and Blackrock until July 1832 when the Blanchardstown foundation was revived with five members from the two Carmels. In the next twenty-six years there were only eight professions and the community was extremely poor. In addition to the poor school, which all religious were obliged to run at that time, they opened a boarding school in an attempt to improve their finances.
In 1857 the prioress, Mother Mary Teeling, judging that the Blanchardstown area was too remote, asked the Archbishop for permission to purchase a more suitable site in Drumcondra. The house at Hampton was bought and the community took up residence in 1858. The poor school and boarding school continued until 1866 when the nuns agreed to board an invalid lady and her attendants for a substantial pension. To facilitate this they gave up the boarding school. Providentially an outbreak of scarletina at this time forced temporary closure of the poor school and the nuns were granted permission not to open it again. That same year, 1866, Mother Antonia Black was elected prioress; with the nuns now free of responsibility for the school she was able to establish full Carmelite observance and enclosure. Appropriate alterations were made to the house and a chapel was built. When the invalid lady died the nuns accepted other lady boarders which helped them financially. This arrangement continued until 1923.
In 1938 Mother Dympna Leonard and three other nuns left Hampton to found the first Carmel in East Africa, at Nairobi. This continues to be a flourishing Carmel.
On the occasion of the centenary celebrations at Hampton in 1958 the community took Solemn Vows and Papal enclosure was established.
Meanwhile the community had begun to make altar-breads in the part of the building previously used as a school and guest house. The altar-bread business flourished until 1996 when there were no longer enough sisters to continue the work. The next year a prayer centre known as Hampton Hermitage was established in the building which was shared with the Theresian Trust.
Until the 1960s Hampton still had 21 nuns. Up to this time there had been enough postulants to fill the places left by sisters who died, but gradually numbers dwindled; years between postulants increased and after 1999 there were no more postulants. By 2010 the number of nuns had dropped to five, all of whom were over 60. Following a discernment process four of the nuns explored the possibility of a re-foundation with St. Joseph’s Malahide and in the Autumn of 2011 both monasteries were suppressed in order to prepare the way for the new Star of the Sea foundation.