Welcome

Welcome to the Margaret Aylward Centre for Faith and Dialogue, named in honour of Margaret Aylward, the founder of the Holy Faith Sisters; in whose grounds the centre sits.

I'm not a poet, though Glasnevin might make one a poet.

Margaret Aylward

The Holy Faith sisters built the centre to share the beauty of our natural resources and the spiritual heritage of Glasnevin which is associated with the monastic settlement of St Mobhi. Here we hope to continue our mission in a spirit of inclusivity in contemporary Ireland. Read more here

This is an extraordinary building. It takes us all by surprise.
It is a wonderful example of contemporary creativity in building and style and yet it is surrounded by so many symbols of Dublin life, past and present.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Blessing of the Centre, 2014

Profile of the Centre

It (the Margaret Aylward centre) is like a new frame within which and through which we see Dublin differently. The building and Dublin life come together into a type of contemporary fusion which challenges our set patterns and leads to reflection. It is a space where we are challenged to reflect anew, but not to flee from the realities that surround us.

Archbishop Martin, 2014

Architecture

We are grateful to our architect, Ralph Bingham and his assistant architect, Kieran Fitzgerald, of MOLA Architecture for capturing our vision and translating it into a stunning building; to Glenbeigh Construction and to Mr Mark Johnston, project manager with W.K. Nowlan, for delivering the building with great efficiency. 

Design – Ralph Bingham,  MOLA Architecture:  We were particularly conscious of the vistas and views from the site and the pristine green lawn and yew walk in front of Glasnevin House. We wanted the new Centre to sit and float above this fabulous green carpet. It was also our intention that the new building should sit as a pavilion or folly within its classical setting and should appear weightless as an object building. We decided to use opaque glass panels to mirror its glorious surroundings. The external skin will thus reflect the trees, sky, lawn and convent buildings around it. 

The plan of the centre represents a journey of discovery, a spiral and labyrinth.  It is formed from a series of axial circulation routes which are geometrically formed to contain space. These spaces operate as a theatre, a sacred space, a multi- purpose space and a series of small office-size rooms, all linked and interlocked with ramps and steps. 

The main stairs that rises up to the sacred space is on axis with Mitchell’s Cedar tree.  The steps down to the theatre space are in line with the O’Connell tower and tree tops of Glasnevin cemetery. The view from the large curved window in the first floor sacred space acts as a lens over the city skyline.  A large roof terrace provides a breakout area from the sacred space and as a further place of contemplation. 

The exterior of the building is contemporary with a neutral colour palette of greys and whites the interior comprises natural materials of timber wall linings, stone and oak flooring. 


Walking the Grounds

Amidst the hectic pace and common pressures of everyday life, it is revitalizing to carve out moments for solitude and serenity. We extend a warm invitation to visit our center and indulge in the tranquility of our Sacred Space. There, you can find nourishment through silence, reading, and reflection, all amidst the splendid backdrop of nature's abundant beauty.

Of the spiritual nature of our grounds in Glasnevin our foundress Margaret Aylward says: ‘Nature seems indeed to rest here and contemplate her God in quiet seclusion; and in her silent way invites the soul to lift herself to Him that made her.’

Click HERE to download a booklet with historical and botanic information

Click HERE to download a booklet with a reflective walk in the grounds

As this is a private grounds, please do call ahead to ensure access, and please sign in at the centre on arriving and leaving the site for insurance reasons. Unfortunately no dogs can be permitted on site for safety and bio-diversity reasons.

Background History

Opened in February 2014, this contemporary building, set in beautiful surroundings in north Dublin, is framed by old trees and a quiet walkway. The site is steeped in rich history and has a long association with the spiritual life, from St Mobhi in the 6th century up to today. Several religious orders and even a Bishop and his family called this place home! Now we are delighted to welcome you too into its beauty. Be inspired and nourished in this welcoming space where people of all faiths and none can immerse themselves in stillness and dialogue. #cityoasis.

Who was Margaret Aylward?

Margaret Aylward, a Waterford woman, founded the congregation in Dublin in 1867 following many years of serving children in distress. This work was formalised in 1857 in St Brigid’s Orphanage – never a residential facility but a system of placing children with families in long-term fosterage. The need to provide school education for poor children saw the beginning of the network of Holy Faith schools. In these works, Miss Aylward was assisted by Fr John Gowan, a Vincentian priest based in Phibsborough, Dublin. The sisters first came to Glasnevin in 1865.

Who are the Holy Faith Sisters?

We are a religious congregation of Roman Catholic women living and working in four continents. Our purpose is to proclaim by word and action the love and truth of Jesus to the people of our day and to collaborate in creating a just world. Our consecration to God is expressed in the three vows we take at our profession, but living the vows is a daily commitment. We pray together, live together, love and laugh together. Relating to one another in love is at the heart of our life in community and we are in community for the mission entrusted to us. For more see holyfaithsisters.org

Wall Hanging in the Events Room by Daiva Stasiukynaite

Many people ask about the vibrant wall hanging in our Events Room downstairs.  

It was commissioned by the centre, especially for this space and arrived on June 5, 2015.  

Daiva Stasiukynaite was invited to create this unique piece. We wanted colour; a piece that would inspire and draw us into beauty, silence and contemplation. This, and more, is what Daiva has achieved. 

Daiva is a Lithuania-born, Irish-based textile designer, who loves natural fibres and works under  Daiva’s Textiles brand producing local and quality wearable and fine art textiles. Her work reflects her love of art and inspiration drawn from nature distinguished by brushstrokes and watercolour-like signature.  She spent many months designing and creating the beautiful wall hanging for our Events Space.  

It is timely that the piece was ready for the first week in June, the month of vibrancy and colour. 

Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours; let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.

Kahlil Gibran

Team

The Margaret Aylward Centre is a community of sisters and friends who work together to create a welcoming space and an inspirational program of events for those who join us.

Our Director is Dympna Mallon.

Dympna has been active in social justice and pastoral issues for more than 20 years.  She is passionate about the importance of dialogue and communication, promoting the dignity of each person and caring for our common home.

Our Office Manager is Geraldine Farrell.  

Geraldine has worked for the Holy Faith Sisters for 13 years, supporting the General Team and the Margaret Aylward Centre.  

Our Team of Volunteers

The Margaret Aylward centre relies on a team of volunteers – normally about 10-15 people – who welcome visitors and help create hospitable spaces.

All unattributed photographs on the site are by MOLA architecture, Donal Murphy, Ben O'Farrell and/or team members. 

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News

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Embroidering Hope: Building Peace Across Communities

Below is an account of a project which has its origins in an event held in the Centre in March 2022, and has since gone from strength to strength. The photographs provide some outline of the beautiful work which the group has produced. Myra Noonan,…

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2024 Newsletter “Awakening” – Issue 4

Immerse yourself in the latest edition of our Newsletter “Awakening” – Issue 4, available for you to read here (Click the page turner on bottom right corner of cover) Click on an image of a flyer to be redirected to the website booking page for…

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A Musical Evening at the Margaret Aylward Centre

On Wednesday 17th April, the Margaret Aylward Centre was filled with music and song, courtesy of the Holy Faith Past Pupils Choir under the direction of Marie Dunne CHF. Ciaran Coll, a staff member from St Mary’s Girls Holy Faith Secondary School and friend of…

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Happy St Patrick’s Day 2024

As we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we’re reminded of his remarkable journey, filled with challenges that still resonate today. From captivity to freedom, his story teaches us about resilience and faith. Just as Patrick shared hope in a land unfamiliar with Christianity, we’re encouraged to…

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10 Year Anniversary at The Centre

  10 year Anniversary of the Margaret Aylward Centre: This special occasion coincided with the feast of St Brigid. Brigid became a woman of special significance to Margaret Aylward and the Holy Faith sisters, bringing light and hope to many in darkness and dedicating her…

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Feast of St. Brigid

Today, on the feast of St. Brigid, we reflect on the legacy of this renowned female saint who passed away 1500 years ago. Born near Faughart in Co Louth, Brigid’s deep commitment to her Christian faith is closely tied to her association with Kildare, where…

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2024 Spring Summer at the Centre

Click on the link below to view some of the events coming up this Autumn at the Margaret Aylward Centre. 2024 Spring – Summer Brochure You can book here on our website – or call us on 01 7979364 or email info@macfd.ie    

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Happy Christmas 2023

Wishing each one Hope, Peace and Joy. Read our Newsletter – Awakening 10 here Events at the centre click here

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Empowered by Faith: Honouring Margaret Aylward’s Legacy

“We can do but little but we will strive to do that little, trusting in God for a better future.” Margaret Aylward.   23rd November is the 213th anniversary of the birth of Margaret Aylward, (1810-1889) foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Faith and…

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Celebrating Laudate Deum – Pope Francis

October 4th marks the end of the Season of Creation but this year, it also marks the publication by Pope Francis of a sequel to Laudato Si’, the title of which is Laudate Deum.  The timing of this publication might be interpreted as a signal…

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Culture Night at the Margaret Aylward Centre

Theme: “Glasnevin – Looking Back, Looking Forward.” Experience a brief visit to Glasnevin House, a guided walk in the grounds, music from St Mary’s Holy Faith Secondary School and some Telescope Time with the Irish Astronomical Society. 22.09.2023 | Session 1:  5.15 – 7.00pm | Session…

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Christmas Craft Fair

The Margaret Aylward Centre will be hosting our annual Christmas Craft Fair in the Centre on Saturday, 18th November 2023 | 10am-1pm. To book a table at the craft fair, please email info@macfd.ie or call the Centre on 017979364.

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14 July – Feast Day of St Kateri Tekakwitha

Friday, 14 July is the feast of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha is the patron saint of traditional ecology, Indigenous Peoples, and care for creation. Born into the Mohawk in Upstate New York in the middle of the 17th Century, she lost her family when she was…

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Laudato Si’ Week: 21 – 28 May 2023

Laudato Si’ Week 2023 runs from Sunday, 21 – 28 May and this year the theme is “Hope for the Earth, Hope for Humanity.” In the past week it has been widely reported that we will reach the critical tipping point of 1.5⁰C increase in…

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Newsletter – Awakening Issue 5

Grab a cup of tea, find a cozy spot, and immerse yourself in the latest edition of Awakening –  Issue 5, available for you to read here (Click the page turner on bottom right corner of cover) Click on an image of a flyer to…

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Earth Day

Image: `Earthrise` was taken on Christmas Eve 1968 from Apollo 8 by William Anders. Saturday, 22 April is World Earth Day – a day when we especially reflect on the precious gift of the Creator and on our call to be stewards of it. We…

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Happy Eid Mubarak!

A time for celebration, reflection, and gratitude marking the end of and the beginning of a new month. Appreciate blessings and pray for those who are less fortunate. May this Eid bring peace, happiness, and prosperity to all. #eidmubarak #Ramadan

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2023 Newsletter – Awakening 4

As April arrives, we feel the arrival of Spring. Life is re-emerging and it’s hard not to feel the positive effects of this season. Be inspired to embrace the energy, beauty, sounds and colour around us! Read our Newsletter “Awakening – Issue 4” here 

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Embrace Equity – International Women’s Day 2023

Wednesday, 8 March is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity. Most people have some understanding and awareness of the issue of gender equality, of the various forms of discrimination which can disadvantage women in terms of their social, economic, political, educational and…

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A Spiritual Journey

The Margaret Aylward Centre is proud to share a new addition to our Centre in the form of “A Spiritual Journey”. This beautiful piece of artwork is on long-term loan to the Centre from Josette Vasallo, a Maltese artist who has been living in Ireland…

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Beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Bríghid Oraibh go Léir!

Today is the feast of our most famous female saint, Brigid who died 1500 years ago. Born around Faughart in Co Louth and the daughter of a chieftain, Brigid was deeply committed to her Christian faith and is most closely associated with Kildare where she…

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 – Ordinary People

The Holocaust was a horrific event in history in which six million Jews and millions of others were systematically murdered by the Nazi regime during World War II. By remembering the Holocaust we honor the victims and ensure that such atrocities are never repeated. The…

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2023 Newsletter – Awakening 1

Happy New Year to all our friends and collaborators. We hope you had a peaceful and restful break over Christmas and are looking towards 2023 with real hope. It has been a remarkably mild winter so far, apart from a few days of frost and…

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New Book: Responding to Child Poverty in Dublin: John Gowan CM, 1817-1897

Promotor of Young Ireland, organiser of famine relief in Wicklow, co-founder of the Holy Faith Sisters, Irish speaker, pilgrim, and a mean handball player: this was John Gowan, Skerries-born, Dublin diocesan, and then Vincentian priest who made such an impact in inner-city Dublin in the mid…

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Happy Christmas

May your hearts and homes be filled with the Light of God With Us this Christmas. May you and yours be blessed with peace, love and hope. Read more here Events at the centre click here

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Happy Hanukkah – Festival of Lights

Happy Hanukkah – Wishing abundant blessings of this special season to the Jewish community. Hanukkah, or the Festival of Rededication, celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its defilement by the Syrian Greeks in 164 BCE. Although it is a late addition to the Jewish liturgical…

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Newsletter – Awakening 9

Another liturgical year has ended. Advent and the month of December are all that stands between us and the celebration of Christmas and the end of the calendar year.   Click here to read our Newsletter – Awakening 9 Events at the centre click here

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112th Anniversary of Margaret Aylward’s Birthday

Today we celebrate the 112th anniversary of Margaret Aylward’s birthday. The foundress of the Holy Faith Sisters demonstrated a lifelong commitment to social justice and advocating for those on the margins of society, with a special care for women and children. Living and working throughout…

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Christmas Craft Fair at the Margaret Aylward Centre

We are excited to be hosting our first ever Christmas Craft fair in the Centre on Saturday 12th November from 10am-1pm.  Ideas for gifts or items to bring some festive spirit to your homes can be found in the selection of crafts such as knitwear,…

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Newsletter – Awakening 8

As we celebrate the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls, we take time to reflect on those who have gone before us. We remember their lives and their part in our lives and we entrust them to God. We hold those whose hearts are…

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Thought of the Week

“In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day

I have to go to bed to see,
The birds still hopping on the tree,
or hear the grown up peoples feet,
still going past me on the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all teh sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?”

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