Just over a century ago, in 1893, the then Archbishop of Tuam, Dr MacEvilly, showed most astute judgement in appointing Canon Canning as Parish Priest of Ballyhaunis. What he achieved during his twenty-five years of active service can only be described as phenomenal when one considers the paltry resources at his disposal. During his time here he oversaw the construction of, among other buildings and works the Parochial House, the Convent of Mercy with its schools and the jewel in the crown, Saint Patrick's Church.
To say that his resources were limited is merely a reflection of the fact that he started with no money. This deficiency, however was more than compensated for by the zeal and vigour which he brought to bear on all he undertook and especially by the manner in which his people rallied to the call both at home and abroad.
On the 25th May 1900 a well attended meeting was held to discuss the building of a new church in the parish of Annagh, Ballyhaunis and despite not having any funds, there was unanimous agreement to proceed with the project.
A fund raising committee was appointed and an appeal sent to Ballyhaunis people both at home and abroad. The response was magnificent and as a result the foundation stone was blessed September 1903 and the new church, dedicated to Saint Patrick, was opened and blessed on l0th October 1909.
The original plan, as shown in the Western People, June 25th 1904, was designed with an imposing spire. This however, did not materialise. Various explanations have been given for this but the most likely one is that funds ran out. This is not surprising when you consider that no expense was spared on the interior - graceful columns of Aberdeen granite, marble altars and every window finished in stained glass, designed and executed by Joshua Clarke, father of the renowned stained glass artist, Harry Clarke.