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St. Mary’s, Castleblayney

Blayney_Church_150St Mary’s church is located on the Dublin Road, in the townland of Onomy, a place said to have been visited by St Patrick, our National Apostle. St Mary’s was built during the mid to late 1850s and dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Dogma of which was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854. 

Our church stands on the site of an earlier Catholic place of worship. That building was built during the years 1805-07 and stood near the site of the present Parish Centre. The site for our church was granted to the Catholic people of the town by Andrew Thomas, the 11th Lord Blayney, by a lease dated 1 January 1803. Lord Blayney presented a portrait of St Sebastian as an altar piece on Christmas Eve 1814 to mark his return from capture in the Napoleonic Wars.

The present church was dedicated on 5 November 1861 by Bishop Charles McNally of Clogher. The preacher on that occasion was the coadjutor Bishop of Down & Connor, Bishop Patrick Dorrian, while the celebrant of the Mass was Dr James Donnelly PP, Roslea, the future Bishop of Clogher (1865-1893).


The design of St Mary's is the work of the Co Armagh architect James Hughes. It is cruciform in shape, using a design known as 'pointed-Gothic'. The stained glass window in the apse forms a strong internal feature, with the image of the crucified Christ dominating. It also has images of Our Blessed Lady, St Patrick, St Brigid and St Peter, Dating from the 1880s it is attributed to the world renowned stained glass producer Meyer of Munich, who also produced many of the windows for St Macartan's Cathedral in Monaghan.

 

The original church was much smaller in size than what it is today. It was extended and extensively renovated during the years 1955-57. A bell and bell tower was erected near the church in 1963. This bell was automated in 2010. The original lease of 1803 stipulated that the church building could not have a bell. Thus, the bell is adjacent to it.

Blayney_Church_34Today, as it approaches the 150th anniversary of its dedication, St Mary’s is the physical focal point of the parish: the place of prayer, the place of holiness and welcome, the gathering place of the People of God that form this community. It is truly the Teach an Pobal - the house of the people - where the Christian community gathers each day and each week to be renewed in Word and Sacrament. ‘…for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.’ (Is 56:7).