Sunday, 16th May, 1824 saw the newly completed Parish Church consecrated by the Most Rev. William Magee, D.D., F.T.C.D., Lord Archbishop of Dublin, formerly Bishop of Raphoe. The Parish had been formed in the era of Most Rev. Lord George Beresford, the previous occupant of the Archdiocese of Dublin.
The Act of Consecration ran thus:
“We consecrate the said Church to the honour of God and holy uses by the name of the Parish Church of Booterstown or the Church of St. Philip and St. James, Booterstown. And we do pronounce decree and declare that the name hath been, and is, so consecrated and that it ought to remain to future times openly reserving unto us and our successors Archbishops of Dublin and Bishops of Glendalough a power of visiting the said church when we shall think it our Office so to do.“
On Wednesday, 19th May, 1824 the following report of the proceedings at Booterstown appeared in the “Evening Mail” newspaper.
“On Sunday last this elegant structure was consecrated by His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin aided by Archdeacon Torrens; also the Archdeacon of Kildare and His Grace’s two sons, the Rev. T. P. Magee and the Rev. W. Magee.
The Ceremony of Consecration was performed in the most solemn and impressive manner. The sermon, from 8th Kings, was admirably delivered by Archdeacon Torrens. In clear, argumentative and classical language he urged the necessity of co-operation on the part of the parishioners when a school shall be established in the district.
The Reverend gentleman’s discourse produced a powerful effect on his highly respectable and very numerous auditory. He announced that a most splendid contribution towards the provision of a clergyman to officiate at Booterstown Church had been made by the Earl of Pembroke, who had remitted for that purpose the sum of one thousand pounds. The Church is a simple Gothic structure, not yet completely finished outside, and is graced by a beautiful spire which, enveloped by the surrounding lofty trees that compose the noble avenues of Booterstown and its vicinity, is seen to peculiar advantage on the traveller’s approach to the “Rock”. The interior is admirably lighted by windows on an improved principle; a neat Gothic window decorated with rich and tastefully stained glass rises over the Communion Table.“
As we say in 1984 “end of quote”!
Readers must now be reminded that Booterstown Church, at this stage, consisted of the present day Nave. No transepts or chancel existed – hence the “Gothic” windows mentioned would have fitted into today’s chancel arch.
Many years after the “Evening Mail” press report appeared in 1824 a cynic wrote as follows, commenting on it:
“By ‘8th Kings’ the reporter must have intended the eighth chapter of First Kings – the account of the dedication of the Temple. If the reporter really entered the church (which we are inclined to doubt) his reference to the ‘rich stained glass’ must have been a joke. The only coloured glass in the church for half a century after its opening consisted of four little panels in the great east window, each but a few inches in length.”
Even in 1824 the Press couldn’t win!.