Churches in the Area, Crossmolina in Co. Mayo

Crossmolina Church

The old church was built in 1806 at a cost of £200 and was the front part of the present Parochial Hall. A painting of the Madonna, over the altar, was brought from Rome by Archbishop MacHale and this is now in the rectory of St. Muredach’s College, Ballina.

The present day church was built in 1860. The site for this church was given free by Sir Roger Palmer with a donation of £50 towards building costs. This church was repaired in 1892 at a cost £1,100 and a new altar installed at a cost of £200.

St. Mary’s Church, Crossmolina

This Church of Ireland church was built in 1818 at a cost of £2,204 and replaced an earlier one which was considered too small. It claims descent from the ancient St. Mary’s Augustinian Abbey by its location near Abbeytown and its continued dedication to St. Mary. It covers the present day Roman Catholic parishes of Crossmolina, Lahardane, Ardagh, Moygownagh, Ballycroy, Kiltane, Kilcommon, Belmullet and Kilmore.

It is grouped, under one rector, with the parishes of Killala (including Cooneal and Kilfian) and Ballycastle (including Lacken).

St. Mary’s graveyard, as with all Church of Ireland graveyards older than 1869, is a mixed graveyard with both Roman Catholic and Protestant being buried there except for a later addition at the bottom of the churchyard. In 1993, the remains of a quern stone were found in the old graveyard which suggests that the present site of St. Mary’s was a medieval village set around the Castle.

Kilmurry Church

In 1775, a church for Kilmurry was built at a cost of £50 and it was situated along the main road to Crossmolina. In 1886, when this church was in bad repair, plans were made for the building of a new church.

There were some difficulties with the proposed site and it was decided to build in the graveyard instead as a temporary measure. The roof of this church was so well constructed that it was decided to make it a permanent one.

To the right of the pathway leading to the church, at what was then the gateway, there is a stone marker engraved "Understand 1866".

Keenagh Church

The church before the present one was situated at Townacran. By 1914, the roof had sagged and was supported by new beams to prop it up.

The foundation stone of the present church was blessed and laid by Doctor Naughton on Pentecost Sunday 1916. The contractor was Isaac Beckett, Ballina, and the resident curate was Fr. Michael O’Donnell.

Ardagh Church

The old Church at Carrowcrin which was built in 1828 remained in use until 1954 and was demolished some years later. Five priests are interred beneath the floor of the church in marked, but now unidentified, graves. A pillar built in 1917, on top of which the bell was mounted before it was moved to the new church, still stands on the site.

The present church was built in 1954 under the direction of Fr. David O’Donoghue. It was consecrated by Bishop Patrick O’Boyle. The contractor was Pat Winters, Killala. A protestant church was being built at Drumindoo by Lord Arran and local gentry. The stonework was finished by 1837, but it was never roofed.

Moygownagh Church

Samuel Lewis, writing in 1836, spoke of the "R.C. Chapel in Magaunagh" as being "small and in bad repair". This church stood on the road-side about half way between the present church gate and Mitchell’s shop. A holy water stoup belonging to this church was preserved beside it for many years.

The present church was built in 1846 and it is situated in Ardvarney townland. The Griffith Valuation (1856) records that the "R.C. chapel and yard" were leased from Andrew Brown, being 5 roods in area and having a valuation of £15-15-0, but exempt from taxes or rates.

There was a stone placed over the entrance of the church which bore the following inscription: "This is the house of God and Gate of Heaven. Erected to the greater glory of God, A.D. 1846". After a porch was erected about 1937, this stone became hidden from view. It was removed in 1973 and inserted in the wall near the priest’s graves.

Extensive reconstruction and alteration works were carried out at this time also by Fr. Michael Gilroy. The reason for the porch being erected in 1937 was that the door faced the prevailing wind and around that time a severe storm blew in the door and damaged the roof.

Kilfian Church

Fr. John Jordan had the present church built, and this would therefore date it around famine times or just after. In August 1889, the doors, windows and roof were repaired. In 1928, a new sanctuary was added. The entrance gate, which was previously opposite the church door, was changed to its present location in 1920.