Newman acquired the site for the church in 1855 from a Judge John Ball who lived in 85 St. Stephens Green. He invited John Hungerford Pollen, Professor of Fine Arts in the new university, to design and build it. Newman’s idea was “to build a large barn and decorate it in the style of a basilica, with Irish marbles and copies of standard pictures”. By April 1856 the shell of the church was complete. As the late Fergal McGrath S.J. says “the speed with which the work on the church went forward is almost incredible in our age of highly organised procrastination”. The church, dedicated in May 1856, is a most fascinating mixture of Early Christian and Byzantine and is one of the architectural gems of the 19th century.