by Fr. Andrew McMahon

The modern parish of Seapatrick, `the seat of Patrick', is dominated by the town of Banbridge, though it actually contains sixteen townlands. It is bordered on the north by the parishes of Tullylish and Dromore and to the south by Aghaderg and Annaclone. The area covered by the parish has a substantial Protestant majority. The current Catholic population is estimated to be around 5,000.

The modern parish is, in diocesan terms, a relatively recent creation. It was established by Dr. Michael Blake, Bishop of Dromore, on 10th. November 1851. Prior to this, Seapatrick Catholics had been ministered to as part of the `Tullylish Union', by priests resident within Tullylish Parish. In time, Banbridge came to have a `curate-in-residence'- this obviously paved the way for the creation of the distinct parish.


Although the name Seapatrick suggests connections with the national patron, the ancient religious traditions of the parish are unrecorded. A pre-Reformation Church existed at Kilpike, about a mile and a half from the centre of the modern town, to the north west. One suggestion is that Kilpike derives from the Irish `Cill P�draic' implying a connection with Patrick. By the middle ages we find the more familiar `Soyge Padraig' and `Suide Padruic' being used in some documents, leading to the current `Seapatrick'.

A new Protestant church, built in 1670, at Kilpike probably replaced the ancient church there. This church continued to serve its people until it was superseded by the new Holy Trinity (Church of Ireland) Parish Church, erected in 1834. An ancient church also existed at Magherally. Ordnance Survey notes, written in 1834, acknowledge this and suggest that ruins of this original Magherally Church had been visible until some years before the time of writing. Catholic worshippers in the parish probably continued to use a church at Kilpike and a church at Magherally into the early Reformation period and, in time, took refuge at such secret Mass stations as existed. Of these, we know two: Ballydown Mass Fort, which was situated about half a mile from the centre of the town to the south east and Tonaghmore Mass Fort, three miles north of Banbridge town, close to the border with Tullylish and Dromore Parishes. A glass ciborium, intended for the distribution of Holy Communion, was found near this site at the beginning of the last century. It has been used, for several years, at the annual Cemetery Mass in Banbridge.


The advent of Banbridge itself belongs to the early eighteenth century. According to James A. Pilson, in his Notices of the most important events connected with the County Down, a bridge was erected over the River Bann in 1712, "on the formation of a new line of road from Dublin to Belfast". This bridge and its surroundings changed the name of the locality to 'Banbridge' in popular usage and away from `Ballyvally', the name of the townland in which Banbridge was originally situated.

The River Bann allowed for the development of the linen industry along its banks and by the middle of the eighteenth century we have evidence of many bleach yards along the river for the purposes of linen manufacture. The Earl of Hillsborough, in turn, granted sections of land at nominal rent to encourage building in the vicinity of the Bann bridge and was responsible for the laying out of the original town. According to records of the Hillsborough Estate Office, Letters Patent for the holding of a weekly market and four fairs annually were granted in 1727. By the mid 1700s, Banbridge had a thriving Church of Ireland community and, also, an expanding Presbyterian Church. According to the parliamentary return of Rev. James Dickson, Church of Ireland Rector of Seapatrick Parish, writing on 24th. April 1766: "There is neither Popish Priest nor Friar in this parish, but the papists here go to Mass in a neighbouring parish." As mentioned above, a Catholic parish of Seapatrick was not to be re-established until almost a century later.


Patrick Maguyn, (Maginn), according to De Annatis Hiberniae, is mentioned as `Vicar of Sangpadrig' on October 2nd. 1405.

Philip Mac Gvyryn (MacGivern), according to Swayne's Register, was `Vicar of Magherally' and died in 1428.

Magonius MacNyrgynid (Manus Maclnerney), succeeded as `Vicar of Magherally' on August 4th. 1428.

Fr. James McMullan of `Kilpike' was attained on 10th. July 1691, along with about one hundred others, and summoned to appear before a commission on the charge of being active supporters of King James II.

On 11th. July 1704, a Fr. Neil Byrne, resident in Ballyvarley, was registered at Downpatrick as Parish Priest of Seapatrick, Tullylish and Donaghcloney. Fr. Byrne was aged 54 years and had been ordained priest by Dr. Daniel MacKey, Bishop of Down and Connor, in 1671.

Rev. Hugh Sheile, (Shields), was registered as priest-in-charge of Magherally and Garvaghy in 1704. He was then residing at Corbet, aged 50 years, and had been ordained by Dr. McKey, Bishop of Down and Connor, in 1674. He was Parish Priest of Drumgooland in October 1691, when he was outlawed by the Williamites.

A Fr. Downey was named as Parish Priest of Dromore, Seapatrick, Magherally, Magheralin and Garvaghy in 1720.

No further records exist, from this period, of priests directly attached to Seapatrick or Magherally parishes. We can presume, therefore, that these medieval parishes were subsumed around this time within the so-called `Tullylish Union' Banbridge Catholics were to be ministered to by priests living in the Laurencetown area until 1851. Seapatrick does not re-emerge until then as an independent parish.


According to a report of the Church of Ireland bishop, there were two priests residing within the parish of Tullylish in 1731. Their names have not been established.

Fr. Francis Polin, a native of Mayobridge, was Parish Priest of Tullylish at the time of his death in 1777. He had been a priest as early as 1728. He was buried in Drumgath cemetery.

Very Rev. Dr. Arthur Magennis was Parish Priest of the United Parishes of Tullylish, Donaghcloney, Seapatrick and Magherally, following Fr. Polin. He died in April 1784.

Rev. Hugh O'Kelly succeeded Dr. Magennis in Tullylish, in May 1784. He became Bishop of Dromore in January 1820. He died at Newry in August 1825 and was buried in Laurencetown.

Rev. Edmund Magennis was appointed Parish Priest of the united parishes on 10th. September, 1820. He is believed to have been a native of Tullylish. He was ordained in Newry in 1816, and served as curate in Newry from 1816 until 1820. Fr. Magennis was responsible for the erection of St. Patrick's Church in Banbridge in 1839. Tensions arose during his pastorate between the bishop, Dr. Blake. and Fr. Magennis. It appears that these had an effect upon the administering of Seapatrick and Magherally. Fr. Magennis eventually resigned his parish. He lived on in Knocknagore, near Laurencetown, and died on 22nd May 1849, aged 56 years. He was buried in Laurencetown.

Rev. John Byrne, a native of Aghaderg and curate in Tullylish since 1845, was appointed Administrator of the united parishes following the death of Fr. Magennis. The period of the `Union' was soon to come to an end, however, and on 10th. of November 1851 Seapatrick and Magherally were severed from it and established as a distinct parish. Fr. Byrne became Parish Priest of the United Parishes of Tullylish and Donaghcloney on 12th. November 1851. He died on 6th. June 1877 and is buried in Laurencetown.

The sanctuary of St. Patrick's Church in the days prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Here a Wedding Mass is being offered for a happy couple.


(sometimes referred to as `quasi-administrators' of

Fr. Henry O'Hagan officiated in the Banbridge area

1831-1832. He had been a native of Clonduff, educated at Maynooth and ordained in Newry in 1827. He worked in St. Colman's College and Newry Parish prior to being appointed to the 'Tullylish Union' in 1831. While ministering in the area he seems to have lived at Hall's Mill, near Laurencetown. He was appointed Parish Priest of Magheradroll on 8th. March 1832. He died on 19th. September 1833 and was buried in Leitrim.

Fr. John Doran, a native of Aghaderg, seems to have been resident in Banbridge from 1837 until 1840. He was probably the first resident priest of the period, settling in the more tolerant years following Catholic Emancipation. Fr. Doran was ordained in Maynooth on 24th. May 1834. He was curate in Rostrevor from 1834-1837. During his ministry in Banbridge, Fr. Doran was involved prominently in the project of erecting St. Patrick's Church, Dromore St. He was appointed Parish Priest of Aghaderg on 15th. August 1840. In 1 850 he resigned from Aghaderg and went to the diocese of St. Louis, U.S.A.

Following Fr. Doran, Fr. Bernard Mooney lived in the parish as curate until 1843. Fr. Mooney was born in Drumgath Parish, educated at Maynooth and ordained in Newry in 1833. He was a curate in Newry until October 1834 when he was appointed to the 'Tullylish Union'. He resided in Banbridge following Fr. John Doran's departure. Fr. Mooney was the first Catholic Chaplain of Banbridge Workhouse, appointed in 1841 at a salary of �25 p.a. He continued to serve within the 'Tullylish Union' until 1844. That year he was appointed curate in Aghaderg, where he caught fever after attending a sick call and died on 20th. October 1847. He was interred in Lisnagade Church.

Rev. John Mackin served as curate-in-residence from 19th. January 1843 until 1st. July 1844. He was a native of Annaclone, educated at Maynooth and ordained by Dr. Blake in Newry in 1838. He served at Warrenpoint until his appointment to Banbridge in 1843. Fr. Mackin went to Annaclone as Adm. in 1844, and became Parish Priest in 1848. He was transferred to Upper Drumgooland as P.P. in March 1851, retiring in 1855.

Rev. Bernard Maginn was appointed to Banbridge on 7th. December 1844. A native of Omagh, he was educated at the Irish College, Paris and ordained in Newry in 1839. He was curate in Magheralin (184243)and Drumgath (1843-44). Fr. Maginn is believed to have died suddenly in St. Patrick's Church, Banbridge, in February 1847.

Rev. John Callan was appointed to Banbridge on 7th. March 1847. He appears, however, not to have taken up the appointment initially and continued as a curate in Newry until 1848. He later went to Lurgan, where he was curate 1849-50.

Rev. Bernard Hughes was appointed to Banbridge on 11th. March, 1847. A native of Newry, he was educated at Maynooth and ordained by Dr. Blake in 1843. He served as curate in Newry (1843-44) and Dromore (1844-47) before coming to Banbridge. He left Banbridge in 1848 to work in Warrenpoint. He became Parish Priest of Lower Drumgooland in November 1854, where he died on 4th. March 1886.

Rev. Patrick Maclvor was appointed to Banbridge on 8th. November 1848. He ministered there until 1854. During his ministry in Banbridge, Seapatrick and Magherally became a distinct parish, on 10th. November 1851. Rev. Daniel Mooney was appointed Parish Priest of the new entity, Fr. Maclvor continuing as curate until 1854.

The interior of St. Patrick's Church today. A major renovation took place 1981-82. The Church was rededicated by Bishop Brooks on 21st. November 1982,


Rev. Daniel Mooney was appointed Parish Priest of Seapatrick and Magherally by Bishop Michael Blake on 10th. November 1851. Fr. Mooney first appears in diocesan records as curate in Barnmeen, 1841-43. From information on his gravestone it is reasonable to conclude that he had been newly ordained shortly before this appointment to Barnmeen. He subsequently served as curate in Clonallon (1843-48), Leitrim (1848-49), Donaghmore (1849-50) and Tullylish (July 1850-November 1851). Fr. Mooney died on 19th. March 1858, aged 46 years, and was buried in Laurencetown.

Rev. John O'Brien was appointed Parish Priest on 11th. June 1858. He was born in Aghalee in 1823, educated at Maynooth and ordained by Bishop Blake in Newry on 10th. August 1848. He served as curate in Newry (1848-58), some of which time he spent as acting Administrator. Following his move to Banbridge, Fr. O'Brien became Vicar Forane in July 1877. He was appointed Vicar General of the diocese on 4th. November 1878. He attended the Maynooth Synod in the autumn of 1900. As a result of the indisposition of Bishop McGivern during the Synod, Fr. O'Brien was appointed Procurator Episcopi, Dromorensis' by Cardinal Logue. He was, in consequence, a signatory to the statutes of the Synod, on behalf of the Dromore Diocese. In November 1900 he was appointed Vicar Capitular of the diocese, following the death of Dr. McGivern. He was reappointed Vicar General by the new bishop, Dr. Henry O'Neill, in May 1901. On 23rd. January 1905 Fr. O'Brien was appointed a Domestic Prelate by Pope Pius X. Monsignor O'Brien died in Banbridge on 5th. September 1907, aged 84 years. He was interred in the sanctuary of St. Patrick's Church, Banbridge, where his younger brother, Rev. Thomas Henry O'Brien, had been interred in March 1871. This younger brother had served as curate in Newry and in Ballela. Monsignor O'Brien had been one of the founders and first directors of the Irish News, Belfast.

Fr. John Rooney was appointed Parish Priest on 30th. October, 1907. He was, at that point, on a lecture tour in America on behalf of the Newry Cathedral Extension Fund. He returned to take up his position on 19th September 1909. During his absence, Fr. Michael MacClory, S.T.L., CC, administered the parish. Fr. Rooney had been born in Mayobridge, educated at Maynooth and ordained on 24th. June, 1878. He served as curate in Ballela (1878-84) and in Newry (1884-1906). He became Administrator of Newry on 27th. December 1906 and began his lecture work abroad. Following Banbridge, Fr. Rooney was appointed Parish Priest of Clonduff on 1st. September, 1923. He became a member of the Cathedral Chapter in November 1924 and in November 1925 he was appointed Diocesan Chancellor. Canon Rooney was a noted preacher and promoter of temperance. He died on 20th. June 1930, aged 75 years, and was buried in Hilltown.

Fr. Francis Joseph O'Hare succeeded Fr. Rooney in Banbridge on 2nd. September 1923. Also a native of Mayobridge, he was born in 1867, educated at Maynooth and ordained by Archbishop Walsh on 24th. June 1890. A brother, Fr. Hugh O'Hare, also served as a priest of the Dromore Diocese. Fr. Francis was curate in Clonduff (1890-95), Seagoe (18951904), and was on a lecture tour in America in aid of Newry Cathedral from November 1904 until March 1910. He was curate in Newry (1910-23) and Administrator from 25th. June 1923 until his appointment, that year, to Banbridge. Fr. O'Hare became a member of the Cathedral Chapter in July 1930 and `Canon Theologian' in July 1935. Canon O'Hare was a respected and influential speaker and writer. He regularly contributed articles to the Newry Telegraph and to the Irish News. He was a strong advocate of the Allied Cause during the First and Second World Wars. Canon O'Hare died on 4th. June 1951 and was buried in Banbridge Cemetery.

Fr. David Gallery was appointed Parish Priest of Seapatrick on 25th. June 1951. A native of Magheralin, he was educated at Maynooth and ordained by Archbishop Walsh on 10th. June 1910. Fr. Gallery served as curate in Seagoe (1921-22) and Lurgan (1922-36). He was Parish Priest of Upper Drumgooland (1936-41) and Aghaderg (1941 -51) In April 1950 he became a member of the Cathedral Chapter and Diocesan Chancellor. While in Banbridge Canon Gallery became Archdeacon, on 21st. March 1955. Archdeacon Gallery died on 17th. May 1963 and was buried in Banbridge.

Fr. James Haughey, President of St. Colman's College, was appointed to Banbridge, in succession to Archdeacon Gallery, on 10th. June 1963. Fr. Haughey was a native of Aghaderg, was educated at Maynooth and ordained by Dr. Wall, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, in June 1934. He served on the staff of St. Colman's College from 1934, becoming President in 1959. His pastorate in Banbridge was relatively short, as he was transferred as Parish Priest to Lurgan on 1st April 1964. He was responsible during his months in Banbridge for the purchase, by the parish, of the lands later used for the building of St. Mary's Primary School, St. Teresa's Church and a new Parochial House on the Scarva Road. On moving to Lurgan, Fr. Haughey was appointed Vicar General of the diocese and a member of the Cathedral Chapter. He became Archdeacon of the Chapter in 1972, Dean and Domestic Prelate in 1976. Monsignor Haughey retired on 16th. January 1980. He died on 16th. March 1995 and was buried in Rostrevor.

Fr. James McEvoy was appointed Parish Priest of Seapatrick on 2nd. April 1964. A native of Lower Drumgooland Parish, he was educated at the Irish College Rome and ordained in Rome in 1935. He served as curate in Down and Connor Diocese (193536), Magheralin (1936-41), Ballela (1941-43), Rathfriland (1943-45), Gilford (1945-48) and Lurgan (1948-64). Fr. McEvoy was transferred from Banbridge to Drumgath as P.P. on 22nd. January 1972. He died on 18th. November 1985 and was buried at Barnmeen.

Fr. Michael Henry O'Rourke was appointed Parish Priest on 22nd. January 1972. A native of Upper Drumgooland, he was educated at St. Kieran's College, Kilkenny and the Irish College, Rome, where he was ordained in April 1939. He served in Leeds Diocese (1939-43), as curate in Gargory (1943-48), Gilford (1948-59) and Derrytrasna (1959-67). Fr. O'Rourke became Parish Priest of Dromara in October 1967 and was transferred to Banbridge five years later. During his pastorate of Seapatrick Parish, the new Church of St. Teresa was built and the adjoining Parochial House. He was appointed to the Cathedral Chapter in July 1980. Canon O'Rourke died on 19th. November 1987 and was buried in the grounds of St. Teresa's Church.

Fr. Matthew O'Hare was appointed to Banbridge in succession to Canon O'Rourke on 17th. January 1988. A native of Donaghmore Parish, he was educated at Maynooth and ordained by Archbishop McQuaid in June 1950. He worked temporarily in Shrewsbury Diocese (1950-54), was curate in Annaclone (195455), Warrenpoint (March-October 1955), Saval (1955-59), Seapatrick (1959-62), Newry (1962-77), and Lurgan (1977-84). Fr. O'Hare was appointed Parish Priest of Clonduff in January 1984 and was transferred to Banbridge four years later. He became a member of the Cathedral Chapter in December 1992. Canon O'Hare retired in June 2000.

Canon Liam Stevenson succeeded Canon O'Hare on 16th. June 2000. A native of Seagoe Parish, he was educated at Maynooth and ordained by Bishop O'Doherty in Newry on 18th. June 1972. He was appointed to the teaching staff of St. Colman's College, Newry in August 1972 and became President of the College on 20th. August 1994. Fr. Stevenson was appointed to the Cathedral Chapter on 14th. October 1994.


Hugh Mooney, 1854-63; Patrick Polin, 1856-63; James O'Hare, 1863-68; Daniel Mallon, March-September 1868; Stephen MacNulty, 1868-70; John Quail, 1870-77; Bernard MacAleenan, 1877-95; Thomas Bernard Rooney, 1894-1902; John MacAllister, 1895-1900; Eugene MacPolin, 1902-05; John Lupton, 1900-03; John Joseph Burns, February-July 1903; Henry Doran, 1903-07; John MacGivern, 1905-07; Hugh Boyle, 1907-09; Michael MacClory, 1907-20; John Magee, 1909-11; Patrick Joseph Wims, 1912-13; Patrick Greenan, 1913-17; Edward J. McAteer, 1917-19; Daniel Pollen, 1919-35; Michael F. Gallogly, 1921-30; Thomas Carvill, 1935-52; Christopher Francis Murray, 1946-59; Patrick McAnuff, 1956-67; Matthew O'Hare, 1959-62; Roderick McInerney, 1962-64; Patrick Scahill, 196263; John Murtagh, 1964-66; Thomas Seymour, 1966- Michael Sheedy, 1967-68; Arthur Bradley, 1968-James O'Hanlon, 1969-70; Seamus Lavery, 197072; John Synnott, 1970-71; Aidan Hamill, 1971-80; Oliver Mooney, 1972-76; Gerard Green, 1976-88; Jarlath Cushenan, 1980-85; Brian Brown, 1984-85; James Kerr, 1985-88; Francis Kearney, 1985-94; James Poland 1988-2001; John Byrne, February-September 1992; James Galvin, 1994; Michael Farrell, 1995-2000; Anthony Corr, 2000; Martin McDonagh, CSSp. 2001-2003; Martin McAlinden, 2003-2004; Patrick Reedy, CSSp. 2004.

The late Canon Michael Henry O'Rourke was the popular and highly respected Parish Priest of Seapatrick from 1972 to 1987. His remains lie within the grounds of St. Teresa's Church.


St. Patrick's Church, Dromore Street, Banbridge. It was originally completed in 1839 and dedicated by Bishop Michael Blake in June 1841.

The Church of St. Patrick, Dromore Street, was originally completed in 1839. The planning of it was begun in 1835 by Rev. Edmund Magennis, Parish Priest of Tullylish, Donacloney, Seapatrick and Magherally. According to visitation notes of Bishop Michael Blake, in 1842, the site for the church was on ground held by lease from a Thomas McClelland Esq., "in consideration of �52 given on purchase by Rev. E. Magennis." The architect for the church, of formal Gothic design, was Thomas J. Duff who had previously designed Newry Cathedral and St. Patrick's Church, Loughbrickland. Work on the building had to be suspended in March 1837, due to a shortage of money, with �450 having already been spent by that date. Much assistance in the building project was generously given by the McComish Family of Banbridge. The church was eventually dedicated on 2 I st. June 1841 by Dr. Blake. The sermon at this dedication ceremony was delivered by the renowned Temperance preacher Fr. Theobald Mathew, on what is believed to have been his first visit to the diocese of Dromore. According to local tradition, for several years after opening, St. Patrick's still had an earthen floor. Parishioners who could afford them, brought their own kneelers, with others kneeling on the bare ground. A bell tower was erected close by the church, on the town side, in 1885, and in 1890 a gallery was added to St. Patrick's.

In 1910 a new high altar was constructed. A major redecoration followed in 1924. The mid -1920s saw a variety of developments in the facilities of Seapatrick Parish; the Parochial House was extended, a new chapel carne into being at Drumnavaddy, and the parish primary schools were renovated and extended. These obviously placed heavy demands, financially, on the people of the parish. At a Pontifical High Mass celebrated by Bishop Mulhern on Sunday 3rd. May 1931, the Archbishop of Liverpool, Most Rev. Richard Downey preached a Charity Sermon in aid of parochial funds. Cardinal MacRory was in attendance, as were the Bishop of Derry, Dr. O'Kane and the Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr. Mageean. Several members of the Northern Ireland parliament were among the congregation. The collection taken up amounted to over �700.

Later that year, on Sunday 25th. October, a new window by Mayer of Munich was dedicated at St. Patrick's Church. The window was the gift of a New York benefactor and celebrated St. Therese of Lisieux, the young saint canonised in 1925.

The centenary of the completion of the original building of St. Patrick's was celebrated in 1939. On Sunday 26th. November, Solemn High Mass was offered by Rev. James Burke, C.C. Newry, with Bishop Mulhern presiding. The sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. Arthur Ryan of Queen's University, Belfast. Bishop Mulhern and Dr. Ryan were both to return to St. Patrick's, Banbridge some months later, on Sunday 30th. June 1940 - the occasion being the Golden Jubilee of Ordination of the Parish Priest, Canon Frank O'Hare. Congratulations were read, at this ceremony, from both Cardinal MacRory and the Apostolic Nuncio, Most Rev. Dr. Robinson.

Minor modifications were undertaken during the following decades, but the most significant renovation and reordering came in the early 1980s under the guidance of Canon Michael O'Rourke. Altar railings were removed, the sanctuary was extended, and the original high altar was extended and repositioned, in accordance with the liturgical norms of the Second Vatican Council. Marble from the altar rails was used in the construction of a new lectern and celebrant's chair. A baptistry was constructed at the edge of the extended sanctuary, embellished by a trio of stained glass windows depicting the baptism of Christ. New seating and confessionals were also installed and new sacristy facilities were built. St. Patrick's Church was solemnly rededicated and reopened by Bishop Brooks on 21st. November 1982. During the ceremony, relics of St. Pius X, St. Clement Hoffbar and St. John Neumann were placed in the newly adapted altar. Seapatrick Parish marked the 150th. Anniversary of the dedication of St. Patrick's in 1991: A, special Anniversary Mass was celebrated by Bishop Brooks on 27th. October. The homily for the occasion was delivered by Rev. Dr. John McAreavey, a native of the parish, later to become Bishop of Dromore.


A converted dwelling house was dedicated as a church at Drumnavaddy in August 1924. It was replaced by the new Mary, Queen of Peace Church, opened on 15th. March 1992.

A building (formerly a dwelling house) at Drumnavaddy was converted into a small chapel of ease in 1924, under the direction of Fr. Frank O'Hare. It was blessed and opened on 17th. August 1924 and dedicated to Our Lady, Queen of Peace. The opening Mass was celebrated by Rev. Daniel Pollen. Fr. O'Hare was, himself, the preacher at this Mass. The following year, on 16th. June 1925, Bishop Mulhern visited the new chapel for the erection of the Stations of the Cross.

The chapel of ease at Drumnavaddy was replaced by a new church built in 1991/92. This project was undertaken by a local building committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Sean McAnearney. The architect was Paul Monaghan. The new church, also dedicated to Mary, Queen of Peace, was blessed and opened by Bishop Brooks on Sunday 15th. March 1992. Monsignor Christopher Murray delivered the homily at this Mass.

The new church was, unfortunately, damaged in a fire attack in August 1993. The consequent repair cost over �30,000. It was vandalised and smoke damaged in a further attack on 9th. January 1994.


By the mid 1970s it was clear that a growing Catholic population in Banbridge needed the facility of a second church building within the town. A site which had been purchased from the Coburn family in 1964 was available for this purpose. After a house there was demolished in 1976, work on the proposed new church began in April 1977. The foundation stone was blessed by Bishop Brooks on Sunday 9th. October 1977. The new church, dedicated to St. Teresa, was of a `surround' design. It was built by the company, Laneir Ltd. of Wakefield, at a cost of �170,000. St. Teresa's was solemnly dedicated and opened by Bishop Brooks on Sunday 14th. May 1978. The new church boasted a seating capacity of 800. Plans are currently being drawn up for a replacement of this church.

St. Teresa's Church, of modern `surround' design, was constructed 1977-78 on land previously purchased on the edge of the town.


The parish cemetery, on the Dromore Road, was purchased in 1872. It was blessed by Bishop Leahy O.P. The cemetery was extended and reordered around 1970.

At the time of the building of St. Patrick's Church accommodation for a curate-in-residence was also attached. This amounted to a small, single storey dwelling. After the parish was granted independent status in 1851, this dwelling was enlarged and another storey added in 1852. A third storey was added in 1874, during the pastorate of Very Rev. J. O'Brien. A substantial later addition and. other improvements were undertaken by Very Rev. F.J. O'Hare during the years 1924-25.

In 1964 valuable sites were acquired for the parish, by Fr. James Haughey, at the junction of Scarva Street and the Scarva Road. One of these sites was later used for the construction of a parish primary school. The other site contained a large house which was occupied initially by the Parish Priest. This house was demolished in 1976 to make way for the construction of the new St. Teresa's Church. Meanwhile a new home for the Parish Priest had been built close by, on the same piece of land, in 1976. The architects were Messrs. Smith and Fay, Newry, and the builder was Brendan Magee, Banbridge.

Early in 1981, as the work of renovating St. Patrick's Church continued, a new house for the curates of the parish was begun alongside the church at Dromore Street. On completion of this house, the original presbytery to the rear of St. Patrick's was demolished.


Catholic Education continues to be provided in Banbridge at St. Mary's Primary School (left), which was built in 1970, and St. Patrick's College (right), opened in 1958.

A mixed National School was opened in Banbridge in 1858, inside the grounds of St. Patrick's Church, fronting Dromore Street. A separate school for girls was built in 1871, adjoining the original school, which then continued for boys only. A second storey was added to the Girls' School in 1876. The ground floor of the Girls' School combined as a meeting/social centre for local parishioners for many years afterwards. A programme" of extensions and improvements to both schools was carried out from 1920 to 1925.

Census figures show a slow but continual rise in the Catholic population figures in Banbridge over the following decades. Although other adaptions were made to the Dromore Street schools, they were increasingly inadequate as accommodation for the primary school children of the parish. By 1962, Seapatrick Parish had 560 families in a population of 2,282 Catholics. St. Patrick's Parochial Hall nearby, on Ballymoney.Hill, came to be used from the 1950s as an overflow facility for the primary schools. This practice continued until a new primary school was built in 1970.

The new mixed parish primary school was opened in Banbridge on Friday 1st. June 1971. Fr. James McEvoy P.P. initiated this project and saw it to completion. St. Mary's Primary School was built at the junction of the Scarva Road and Reilly Street on one of the sites previously purchased by Fr. James Haughey P.P. The school continues to thrive and has a current roll of 408 pupils, with 20 teachers.

Following the 1945 Education Act and the new era which began in post-primary education, a new mixed intermediate school for the parish and surrounding areas, St. Patrick's, was built at a cost of �140,000. The foundation stone for St. Patrick's was blessed by Bishop O'Doherty on 1st. May 1957. The school was blessed and opened by Archdeacon Gallery on 1st. September 1958. It has developed and been extended a number of times over recent decades. On Sunday 16th. March, 1984, the school community gathered at

St. Teresa's Church for a special Mass to mark their Silver Jubilee year. More recently, on 22nd. March 2000, the school assumed the title `St. Patrick's College'. The College has a current roll of 530 pupils and 40 teachers. It is currently awaiting funding from the Department of Education for the construction of a new school building.


The above-mentioned St. Patrick's Parochial Hall was opened in 1914. It was extensively renovated in the late 1960s, having continued to accommodate primary school pupils. The Hall served as an important social facility and a much cherished meeting place for young Catholics of Banbridge and the surrounding areas for many years. It has been superseded in recent years by a superb new Parish Centre, built alongside St. Teresa's Church, on the Edenderry Road. The Centre was opened on 2nd. October 1998. Its architect was B.G. Laverty of Banbridge and the building contractors were McCartan Brothers of Laurencetown. The main hall of the Parish Centre has a seating capacity of 600.

St. Patrick's Hall is currently being sold.

The new 'Parish Centre', on the Edenderry Road, provides Banbridge people with a very fine pastoral and social facility.