St. Columba’s and St. John’s
Written by Rev Canon George Irwin Temporary Priest in the Parish of Clondehorkey.
The Church of Ireland Parish of Clondehorkey (Horkey’s Meadow) includes the towns of Creeslough, Portnablagh, and the area known as Cashel (around Doe Castle). The ancient Parish Church of Clondehorkey was at Kill, close to Dunfanaghy.
THE PARISH OF CLONDEHORKEY
This Church was replaced by St. John’s, Ballymore in 1752. St. John’s is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the country with two Venetian windows and four large multi-paned, segment-headed windows decorated on the outside with a beautiful and distinctive architectural feature known as Gibbs surrounds.
The minutes of the Select Vestry make reference to the sale of timbers from the old Church at Dunfanaghy and of timbers from a Chapel of Ease at Cloone(Creeslough) in the Spring of 1773. In the village of Creeslough the core of the building which houses the village Pharmacy (Brennan’s) was once a Presbyterian Church. This Church was purchased by the Church of Ireland and used for many years as a meeting place for worship and Sunday School.
Ballymore National School dates back to 1752 and was housed at first in the porch of St. John’s, making Ballymore National School one of the longest established schools in County Donegal. A separate school building was subsequently erected adjacent to the Church and was called the Robertson School because it was financially supported by the Colonel Robertson Fund. This building became the Parish Hall when the present School was erected in 1958.
When Dunfanaghy parish was carved out of Clondehorkey in 1872 with the erection of Holy Trinity Church in the village, a portion of Kilmacrennan parish containing Cashel chapel of ease was transferred to Clondehorkey.
St Columba’s Church, Cashel was built as a chapel of ease by the Hart family of Doe Castle in 1847. As well as providing a convenient place of worship for the local people, the erection of this building was also the means of much-needed employment during the Great Famine.
The hexagonal stone font carries the date 1684. This font may have come from a chapel which once stood adjacent to Doe Castle. Outside the Church is the bell taken from Dunlewey Church, the iconic ruin situated in the Poisoned Glen. The bell has the date 11th October, 1860 and the name of the Rev. J.H.Bor, Rector of Dunlewey.
St. Michael’s Church
Built in 1971. The Architect who designed it was Liam mcCormick founder of the modern Irish architectural movement. He was commissioned to design 26 ecclesiastical buildings and numerous commercial and state buildings throughout Ireland.
The Bell tower seen on the right of the church, was taken from the original church of the parish in Doe, which is now in ruins in Doe graveyard.
The shape of the building is set to follow the shape of Muckish mountain. Etched in the glass around the inner doorway are the names of the architects, builders and artists and local skilled workmen who helped build the Church. The stained glass and altar tapestry were designed by Helen Moloney and the Tabernacle and outer cross by John Behan.
Ard Mhuire was built in 1931 by the Capuchin Franciscan monks.
There is still a small community of priests and brothers living in the friary.
Their daily Mass for the public in the Oratory is at 8am each morning.
Confessions are heard throughout the day – 7 days a week and priests are always available. The Friary is also a retreat centre and holds several retreats throughout the year.
The Ards Friary has a coffee shop, open to the public, called the Coffee Dock selling tea, coffee cakes and ice creams. Learn more about the history of Ards Friary.