The Palestrina Choir had its origins in a boys’ choir formed in the 1890s by Dr Vincent O’Brien, then a music teacher at Saint Mary’s Place Christian Brothers School in Dublin. It was at a performance of Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli at Saint Teresa’s Carmelite Church in Clarendon Street, Dublin in 1898 that this choir and its gifted director first came to the attention of Edward Martyn. Martyn was born to a family of Roman Catholic landed gentry at Tulira Castle, Co. Galway in 1859. He was educated in Belvedere College SJ, Dublin, Beaumont College, Windsor and Christ Church, Oxford. He is well known for his involvement in the Irish Literary Theatre, later to become the Abbey Theatre, which he co-founded in 1898 with W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory and George Moore. However, his interest in establishing a national theatre was matched, if not exceeded, by his interest in the reform of liturgical music in Ireland. During his university days, he travelled extensively in Europe, where he was struck by the quality of the choirs he heard in the great cathedrals there. He was determined that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland deserved and should have music of an equivalent standard. In particular, he wished to promote the music of Palestrina, espoused by Pope Pius X as the standard to which all liturgical music should aspire. Between 1898 and 1902, Martyn worked tirelessly to establish the choir at Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, offering an endowment of £10,000 (in current terms about €1 million) on the condition that Dr O’Brien be appointed choirmaster. An agreement was signed on November 26, 1902, and the Palestrina Choir was constituted and installed in the Pro-Cathedral on January 1, 1903. In the century or so since its foundation, the Choir has had seven directors. Vincent O’Brien, director until his death in 1948, was succeeded by his son, Oliver O’Brien. In 1978 Fr Seán Ó hEarcaigh took over from Oliver and four years later Fr Ó hEarcaigh was succeeded as director by Ite O’Donovan. In 1996 Comdt. Joseph Ryan directed the choir before Órla Barry became the next director. In 2002 the current director Ms Blánaid Murphy took on the mantle.