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Dublin and the Messiah


Opposite Christ Church cathedral on Fishamble Street once stood Neal’s Music Hall, where Handel conducted the combined choirs of Christ Church and St Patrick’s cathedrals in the first performance of his Messiah in 1742. As the takings were going to charity, ladies were requested not to wear hoops in their crinolines, to get more bums on seats. Jonathan Swift exclaimed, “Oh, a German, a genius, a prodigy.” In a private garden on the site, the composer’s reward is a statue of himself conducting in the nude, perched on a set of organ pipes. Every April 13, on the anniversary of the first performance, Our Lady’s Choral Society gives a singalong performance of excerpts from the Messiah here.

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