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

In the busyness of life and the everyday stresses we all encounter, it is refreshing to take time for space and silence. You are welcome to come to our centre to spend some time in our Sacred Space. There you can be nourished with silence, reading and reflection against the backdrop of the beauty of nature’s bounty.

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 12 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. 

Get in touch

Book Our Facilities

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY

Take a look around

placeholder
placeholder
placeholder
placeholder

Ready to visit in person?

Make an enquiry

News

placeholder
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…

Read more
placeholder
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,…

Read more
placeholder
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…

Read more
placeholder
Shubh Deepavali to all celebrating Diwali today!

Today is the beginning of Diwali, the Festival of Lights which is traditionally celebrated by the Hindu religion, but also by Sikhs and Jains. It is a festival which symbolises the triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Diwali…

Read more
placeholder
Taking Time to Listen

It was an honour and a privilege to participate in the event on Monday, 17th October to mark UN Eradication of Poverty Day 2022 at the Poverty Stone, and to hear so many people of courage share their stories of struggle and hope with such…

Read more
placeholder
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – 17 October 2022

As we mark another International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we are proud to support @ATDIreland and the work they are doing to #EndPoverty – more vital now than ever.     Click on the image below to view a short powerful film released…

Read more
placeholder
2022 Newsletter – Issue 7

With Summer well and truly over, we can see the rhythm of the year move towards shorter days and an autumnal feel in the air. Despite the change in the weather, many people find Autumn an uplifting time of year, perhaps because of the wonderful…

Read more
placeholder
Feast of St Francis of Assisi

Today is the feast of St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and nature. St Francis choose to leave a life of wealth and prosperity and came to see every part of creation, every creature, plant, element and person as his family. He understood…

Read more
placeholder
Christmas Craft Fair 2022

We are holding a Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday, 12 November 2022 from10am – 1.00pm Register your interest in taking a table by contacting: e: info@macfd.ie | t: 017979364

Read more
placeholder
Happy Rosh Hashanah

Happy Rosh Hashanah to our Jewish friends. May this new year be filled with abundant blessings for you. Read more here

Read more
placeholder
2022 World Car Free Day

Thursday, 22 September is World Car Free Day 2022. With carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases being the major causes of global warming, this day brings awareness to what we can all do to help the environment and to the benefits of using cars less…

Read more
placeholder
Season of Creation 2022

The Season of Creation is marked throughout the Christian world each year from 1 September until the feast of St Francis of Assisi on 4 October. It celebrates the joy of creation as well as encouraging awareness-raising initiatives to protect the natural environment. Drawing inspiration…

Read more
placeholder
Autumn/Winter Programme 2022

Click on the link below to view some of the events coming up this Autumn at the Margaret Aylward Centre. You can book here on our website – or call us on 01 7979364 or email info@macfd.ie 2022 AW Brochure  

Read more
placeholder
Review of Spring – Summer at the Centre

As we approach the end of the summer break, we have been reflecting on some of the great things that happened in the Centre over the past few months. We are so grateful for your support and friendship and are looking forward to seeing many…

Read more
placeholder
Donate Your Unused Wool

Have you any unwanted wool in your cupboard? All wool used for the benefit of others to arrange drop off contact the centre. From September | Tuesday – Friday | 10.30am – 3.00pm Tel: 017979364 | Mobile: 087 6649862 | Email: info@macfd.ie 

Read more
placeholder
St Patrick’s Day – Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Happy St Patrick’s Day from the Margaret Aylward Centre. As we celebrate the feast day of our national patron saint, there is value in reflecting on the relevance of Patrick’s story for us in 2022. Patrick’s journey was one of separation, imprisonment, slavery and fear….

Read more
placeholder
Day of Fasting for Peace

During a General Audience address on Wednesday, 23 February, Pope Francis invited everyone to make Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fasting for Peace in Ukraine. “And now I would like to appeal to everyone, believers and non-believers alike. Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness…

Read more
placeholder
The Hidden Dimensions of Poverty

In the run up to World Day of Social Justice on 20th February,  ATD Ireland, the Christian Brothers and Presentation Sisters collaborated with the Margaret Aylward Centre to create a series of workshops highlighting the Hidden Dimensions of Poverty. These workshops were hosted in the…

Read more
placeholder
Epiphany

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, marking the arrival of the Magi, or Wise Men to worship – and recognise – the infant Jesus as the Incarnation of the Divine. It is a feast which for many people marks the ‘end’ of Christmas,…

Read more
placeholder
2021 – Merry Christmas!

Dear Friends, As we journey towards Christmas, the days continue to get darker and the darkness of uncertainty and fear seems to be deeper than ever. But we journey towards a promise, the promise of a Light which will come into the world, which the…

Read more
placeholder
Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor!…

Cry of the Earth……..   Healthy Planet, Healthy People Petition. Among the challenges posed to us by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ was to become more socially and politically active. The Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition, to be presented to world leaders at the forthcoming…

Read more
placeholder
Year of St Joseph

2021 has been dedicated by Pope Francis as a “Year of St Joseph” for which Sr Marie Dunne CHF has composed a beautiful hymn “Joseph Ever Faithful”. Click on the link below for a moment of reflection on St Joseph’s care and protection as we…

Read more
placeholder
Laudato Si Animators – The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations ….

Some of our Holy Faith sisters who worked in South Sudan in recent years will remember fondly Fr Tim Galvin, a Kiltegan priest from Brosna, Co Kerry, who has lived there since 1983. Fr Tim recently trained as a Laudato Si Animator and created THIS…

Read more
placeholder
As we emerge…

As we emerge from lockdown and begin to step out into the summer, its a good opportunity be grateful for all that we have been given. Had we been told in February 2020 that we were entering into more than a year of isolation, we…

Read more
placeholder
A Pentecost reflection

On Saturday 22nd May, we gathered before Pentecost to reflect on the guidance of the Holy Spirit with our friend and guide Donal Dorr. Participants logged in from across this island, England, Scotland, America, Australia and from parts of Asia and Africa too. Much like…

Read more
placeholder
Launch of a New Book Reflecting on Covid
Read more
placeholder
The Irish Catholic Church Calls a Synod – Irish Bishops Ask for your Opinion
Read more
placeholder
From Gloom to Zoom – Creating New Communities of Hope Online

When the centre closed in doors in early March 2020, we imagined that a 12 week closure might be the worst possible scenario. Our first thought was how we might support both facilitators and participants on our courses in this challenging time. We decided to do three things To change our…

Read more
placeholder
Deirdre Ni Chinneide – Crossing the Threshold of Hope
Read more
placeholder
Laudato Si, Bookclubs and Celebrations – Caring for our Common Home Online

A book club with Dermot Lane on his new book ‘Theology and Ecology in dialogue: the wisdom of Laudato Si’. A fantastic opportunity to unpack Dermot’s important contribution to this conversation as we explored how every aspect of our theology and faith was, and is,…

Read more

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?”

Share this