CLOGHER CELEBRATES

St Macartan's Cathedral, Clogher

St Macartan’s Cathedral, Clogher

Saint Patrick might be known widely for the foundation of his see in Armagh, of which he was the first Bishop. But it is predated by his legacy in Clogher. To mark Saint Patrick’s Day, archivist Jack Johnston gave a talk on the history of Saint Macartan’s Anglican Cathedral. He pointed out that Saint Patrick came to Clogher and established a church there under Macartan before he went to Armagh, which is now the seat of the all-Ireland Primate in both the Church of Ireland and Catholic churches. The see of Clogher was founded by Saint Patrick, who appointed one of his household, Macartan, as first bishop in 454. Macartan was the ‘strong man’ of Patrick, who established the church in Clogher and spread the gospel in Tyrone and Fermanagh. It is said that Saint Brigid, Macartan’s niece, was present at the founding of the see.

Jack Johnston talk

Jack Johnston talk

Jack Johnston's talk

Jack Johnston’s talk

The Precentor of Saint Macartan’s Cathedral Chapter, Reverend Noel Regan, who is originally from Sligo, organised a series of events to mark Saint Patrick’s Day, starting with the weekly Sunday morning Holy Communion service. There was a Lenten lunch to raise funds for  the Us missionary organisation. It was followed by some musicians playing in the Cathedral, including a chance to hear the wonderful organ played by Glenn Moore, Director of Music at the other (later) diocesan Cathedral, St Macartin’s in Enniskillen.

The day was rounded off with an ecumenical evensong, featuring the choir of the Cathedral group of parishes and members of the choir from St Patrick’s Catholic church in Clogher, to a setting by Thomas Tallis. Canon Regan said, “As members of the Church of Ireland we have the great privilege of worshipping in some of the most significant and important sites in the Christian history of this land. In Clogher we have a fine Cathedral which stands on one of the most important Christian sites in the area. We are delighted to open our doors that others might come and together with us learn something of our common heritage and enjoy the surroundings of this holy and special place”.

St Macartan's Cathedral, Clogher

St Macartan’s Cathedral, Clogher

KILBURN

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick

The statue of Saint Patrick at the Sacred Heart Church in Kilburn, London, stands as a reminder of the large Irish community who used to worship here. The chapel at Quex Road was built in 1878/9 and there had been an Irish presence in the area since 1841. In the 1950s and 60s there was an influx of Irish labourers as the suburb was redeveloped, and it became known as Ireland’s 33rd county. But the Irish nature of the parish has now diminished, following the arrival of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere.

The parish is run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) and the parish priest is from Waterford. But his assistants are from areas as diverse as Sri Lanka, the Congo and the Philippines, along with one local man from Willesden, who was ordained in Ireland.

Sacred Heart Church, Kilburn

Sacred Heart Church, Kilburn

The priest from the Congo said the Mass I was at on Sunday morning. The three servers he had on the altar (two of them girls) were coloured and I noticed only a few people in the congregation who seemed to be Irish or were of Irish extraction. But on Sunday March 17th there will be celebrations for the feast of St Patrick.

Irish Papers

Irish Papers

Go out onto the nearby Kilburn High Road and you will still see an Irish influence. Not far from the former State cinema that once house the National Ballroom, I came across a newsagents shop, with a wide selection of Irish provincial newspapers for sale. The last time I saw such a selection was in Easons in Dublin. I was disappointed that among the papers missing were the Northern Standard (Monaghan), the Anglo-Celt (Cavan) and the (Carlow) Nationalist and Leinster Times.  But I’m sure if you went in and asked for any of the other titles, the newsagent would probably order them for you.

Many of the Irish emigrants who came to London never got the chance to return home. There are still some who are living on their own, who were never married and who have lost touch with Ireland. To provide accommodation for them, the Irish Centre Housing (ICH) group has developed a new hostel, close to the Sacred Heart church.

Conway House

Conway House

Conway House was originally the site of a nursing home, acquired from the Sisters of Hope in 1973. The new building costing £4 million contains 60 en-suite rooms for single people. There is an annexe with six flats for renting for family acommodation. The first new residents moved in two months ago at the start of December.  ICH provides accommodation and support for the homeless and those with alcohol, drug and mental health issues, as well as affordable housing for those on local authority waiting lists. The development was financed through Clydesdale Bank and was carried out in association with the London Borough of Camden’s Hostels Pathway project.