Patrick’s Church, Aghyaran, was
built in 1840, dedicated in 1844, and the Tower
added in 1856. This information is given on the
memorial stone in the Tower over the main door.
ET SANCTO PATRICIO
Reverend Peter McLaughlin, 1819-1840, and the
Most Reverend John McLaughlin, 1840-1845, were
the Bishops of Derry at the time. During the same
period Termonamongan Parish had four Parish Priests
in quick succession. Fr. John Higgins was PP in
1839. He is termed “superannuated”
in the Catholic Directory for that year, that
is incapacitated by reason of old age, and his
curates Fr John McCullagh and Fr Anton O’Doherty
are termed “Administrators”. He was
succeeded by Fr Neal O’Flagherty who died
prematurely on the 8th November 1840. He was succeeded
by Fr Francis McHugh, who in turn was succeeded
by Fr John McCullagh, promoted to Parish Priest
in 1841. Did Fr Higgans initiate the building
of St Patrick’s Church in spite of his advanced
years, or was it Fr Neal O’Flagherty, who
tragically did not live to enjoy the fruits of
his labour? Was Fr Francis McHugh sent to complete
the work, or was Fr John McCullagh the man who
really carried through the project.
church replaced an earlier one on the site. In
1799 Fr James Mongan built a church at Aghyaran.
It was a plain thatched building, 120 feet long
and 24 feet wide, and held 900 people. This calculation
must have been made for the congregation standind
since the present church, measuring 90 feet by
45 feet and with a larger floor space, seats about
500 It would appear that there was an even earlier
church on the site. Reference is made to ‘Aghyaran
Chapel’ in a legal document from the year
1797, two years earlier than Fr Mongan’s
church. The earliest inscribed headstone in Aghyaran
graveyard is over Thomas Owens who died on July
19 1791, six years earlier again. This original
church may have been built around 1759, the year
the church is believed to have been built at Castlesessiagh
for the people of Castlederg. It could, indeed,
have been built by Anthony O’Flaherty, the
noted church builder from Termonamongan.
James O’Kane came as PP 1894-1897 there
were no seats on the floor of the church. He got
about half of it seated, and removed a wooden
pulpit which was inside the altar rails. Fr McConelogue
PP 1897-1933, afterwards got the remainder of
the Church seated. The seats in the gallery were
private property of different families of the
Parish. After he had completed the renovations
work Fr McConelogue made the seats common property.
McConelogue’s coming more than one engineer
condemned the roof of the church as being unsafe.
In the summer of 1927, under the direction of
Mr William Doherty, Architect, Derry, Fr McConelogue
gave the renovation of the Church to messrs. Sweeney,
Builders and Contractors, Strand Road, Derry.
As well as the new roof and new ceiling, the renovation
work included the building of a new sacristy,
a new sanctuary of Carrara marble (high altar,
side altar and altar rails), new floors in the
Chruch (timber) and in the Tower (concrete), and
stained glass windows. The wall and gates along
the road and the retaining wall behind the church
were also newly built.
altars and one of the holy water fonts and stained
glass windows were donated by people of the Parish
at home and abroad. Excluding donations, Messrs.
Sweeney were paid £8,478-0s-0d for cost
of material, labour, and 10%. There was no appeal
to the Parish for money except the collection
taken up on the day of the Rededication of the
Church. The money had accumulated from legacies
left to the Parish by Mr. Neil Browne and Miss
Jane Browne of Killeter and Mrs. Browne of Strabane,
some twenty years previously.
Church was dedicated by Most Reverend Bernard
O’Kane, Bishop of Derry on 8th December
Cohen of Carndreen was ordained to the Priesthood
in St Patrick’s Church for the Diocese of
Birmingham by the Most Reverend Dr. Neil Farren
on 14th July, 1946. Fr Andrew Dolan of Aghyaran
was ordained for the Diocese of Derry by the Most
Reverend Dr. Neil Farren on 5th June, 1971.
came to Aghyaran in 1959 enabling an oil-fired
heating system to be installed in 1968. The sanctuary
was reorganised for the celebration of the new
liturgy in accordance with the decrees of the
Second Vatican Council in 1971. The Baptismal
Font was placed in the sanctuary in 1984, and
the sanctuary furnishings completed with a brass
sculpture for the Baptismal Font, brass lectern
and brass and wood credence table.