The Lectern


Near the Church, is a handsome Parish Hall, again retaining most of its Victorian interior intact. It was built in 1889, and was designed by R.S. Barnes C.E. The following report appeared in the "Meath Herald & Cavan Advertiser" on Saturday, September 27th. 1890"

"All hail to Donaghpatrick! May its shadow never be less! On Thursday last at 3 o' clock, we had the pleasure of attending the ceremony of opening a Parochial Hall, recently erected there for social gatherings of various sorts in connection with the congregation, but not considered exactly suitable for the Church building adjacent. The Hall which appeared to us quite suitable for the purposes intended was built under the direction of Mr. R.S. Barnes C.E., cost nearly £600 and is very tastefully got up, probably accommodating about 120 people. It was nearly filled by the Parishioners, together with a few people from other Parishes, which indeed surprised us, considering the thin population of the district. The Bishop of Meath presided, and the proceedings opened with the singing of the hymn "The Churches one Foundation" led by Mrs. Collins, on the piano. Prayers followed by the Rector of the Parish, the Rev. John A. Jennings after which, the Bishop declared the Hall opened. The Rector then stated the necessity of the building of the hall as there used to be 46 or 47 people present at social meetings in the Rectory House and specially mentioned the services rendered in its construction by Mr. Gerrard D.L., who gave the ground, Mr. Barnes and Major Everard D.L. The Hymn "We plough the fields" followed, after which the Bishop delivered a short address, indicating that buildings such as this were quite unknown in the early Christian Churches, which had not many houses consecrated for their worship but were obliged to meet in private houses, which of course, their rooms could not be consecrated...A programme of music etc. was then gone through with good effect, and the people separated after spending a very enjoyable time".

A special Centenary Service for the Parochial Hall was held in September 1989. On St. Patrick's Day, March 17th. 1996, a Festival Eucharist took place to celebrate the Centenary of the Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Present Church. The Celebrant was the Lord Bishop of Meath and Kildare, The Most Reverend Walton Empey, now the present Archbishop of Dublin, and the Preacher was the Very Reverend Victor Griffin, former Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, famed for ensuring the complete restoration of that Cathedral in the 1960's, and for his opposition to road building and destruction of Dublin's inner city.




According to tradition, St. Patrick, founded a religious house on the site of the present Church. The tripartite 'Life of St. Patrick' states that this place was the site of a royal palace, granted to Patrick by Conaill, the brother of the High King Laoghaire, following his baptism. Near the Church is Telltown, anciently called, Tailte, famous for the annual Telltown Games, at which all the Princes and Chieftains gathered, and where Patrick was rejected by Conaill's brother Cairbre. It seems that a Church survived at 'Domhnach Patrick' throughout the Middle Ages, although it was burned in 745 CE , and plundered in 949 CE and again, in 1156 CE.

The Church was in ruins in 1682, apart from the mediaeval bulky tower. The Church was rebuilt in 1805 and incorporated the mediaeval tower. One presumes that this Church was a rather plain rectangular structure, as are many others built in the same period. In 1835 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners gave a grant of £104.3.7d. to repair the Church. The Rectory was built in 1812, by aid of a gift of £200. and a loan of £600. from the Board of First Fruits. Despite being only 81 years old, the Church was demolished in 1895, apart from the mediaeval tower, and a new Church was built, again in the same position.

The new Church was designed by the architect, J.F. Fuller, and was erected by Thomas Gerrard and his sisters, Mrs. Collins and Mrs. Johnston, of Gibbstown House. The Church is a small pleasing structure, with a three bay Nave, constructed of rock-faced limestone, an apsidal Chancel, a Vestry, and a lean-to gabled Porch, adjoining the South wall of the mediaeval tower.

The interior decoration is limited to the Chancel, which contains a tiled floor and tiled wall decoration. The Chancel arch is Caen stone and the ceiling of the entire Church is panelled. The original pews, Font, Reading-Desk and American Organ are still in situ. The large 'Eagle' brass Lectern, came from Ardbraccan Church, when that Church closed. The Altar, is decorated with a curious fretted front panel, not unlike that commonly found on a Victorian radiator cover. The small Vestry, off the Chancel, contains its original decorated fire place surround and a decorated table and matching chairs, complete the furnishing. There are no Memorial Tablets on the walls of the Church, an expressed wish of the Gerrard family. Some Tablets from Kilshine Church, now closed, have been erected in the inner porch.

The Tower is a bulky structure of coursed limestone rubble and was a residential tower. Like a traditional Tower House it contained a large room on each of its four storeys. Each room had a fire place and recessed cupboards and was linked to the next storey by a stone staircase in the North wall. The floors have long since been removed, but access to the top of the tower is still possible, as the ancient stone steps have survived. The view from the top of the tower is well worth the climb and one can appreciate the beauty of the surrounding country-side, from its battlemented roof.