Thesis submission ID 935 | created | last updated

David Michael O'Shea, The Choral Foundation of the Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle, 1814–1922
PhD, Trinity College Dublin, 2019

Volumes, pp.: 2 vols (294pp and 253pp)  Wordcount: 98000
Supervisor(s): Dr Andrew Johnstone
Repository (hard copy): Trinity College, Dublin; Representative Church Body Library, Braemor Park, Dublin

General specialism: Musicology
Historical timeframe: 1814–1922
Key terms, concepts: Historical studies; archival studies
Key terms, places: Dublin
Key terms, institutions: Chapel Royal; Dublin Castle
Key terms, genres, instruments: Anglican church music; organ music

The Chapel Royal of Dublin Castle, the household chapel of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, was opened for worship on Christmas Day 1814. It was established in imitation of the Chapel Royal of St James’s Palace, London, and like that foundation was served by a staff of clergy (a Dean, Sub-Dean, and honorary chaplains) and musicians (boy choristers, adult male singers, and an organist and choir master).

The Chapel played a significant role in the interaction between the Lord Lieutenancy and the wider public. Although the Lord Lieutenant attended services at several churches in Dublin, the Chapel Royal was the only ecclesiastical foundation paid for and controlled by the government, and thus it was exempt from episcopal jurisdiction and functioned like a royal peculiar.

The Chapel was in some respects a remarkable precursor of later liturgical and musical trends. Its musicians performed the choral service every Sunday morning, and its repertoire included music from the English cathedral tradition as well as works written by composers associated directly with the Chapel. The Chapel’s musical establishment was a formal independent entity with its own personnel, repertoire and performance traditions, and not an informal subset of the musicians of the Dublin cathedrals as has hitherto frequently been claimed.

The Chapel occupied an anomalous position after the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1871, although it continued to function, and its music flourished in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth. With the inception of the Irish Free State in December 1922, the Chapel was disbanded, although the building was preserved and was later used as a Roman Catholic church.

This study is the first major investigation of the Chapel’s choral foundation, and draws on a wide range of primary sources, including state papers, the contemporary press, and the extant portion of the Chapel’s large music library.

Related publications:
‘Music and Liturgy at the Chapel Royal’, The Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle: An Architectural History, eds Myles Campbell and William Derham (Trim: Office of Public Works, 2015), 94–105.

‘Liturgy and Music at the Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle: An Exercise in Viceregal Image-Making’, Trinity Postgraduate Review, vol. 16 (2017), 161–81.

Thesis submission ID 935