Reminiscences, by one who was there
(Liam McMenamin, N.T., 1978)
The Scathlán in Brockagh served as a Church until
the old Church here in Kiltyferrigal was opened in 1825.
Dónal á Chin, the local prophet, claimed
that the 1825 Church would need replacement, and that a priest
named Gallagher would start the building but would not live
to see it completed. His words proved prophetic - Fr. Anthony
Gallagher died during the construction of the new Church.
The 1825 Church Building Fund had subscriptions from people
of different faiths. The building was supposed to accommodate
Stranorlar and Glenfin's
Kilteevogue were both joined together until 1835,
when Stranorlar was legally constituted a parish
on 24th March of that year.
Sir Charles Styles the then landlord, offered a site plus
£100 on condition that the Church would be built on
the Brockagh side of his residence, Cloghan Lodge - even in
the field across the main road, opposite the plantation. When
it was decided to build in Kiltyferrigal, Styles objected,
but eventually paid £50 and later on he paid the remaining
fifty. The Church had an inscription recording the fact that
Catholics and Protestants helped to build the Church. It was
in that Church Yard that O'Donovan in 1835 met what he described
as 'A crowd of the long-headed natives of Glenfin '.
The contractor was Mr. McDonald from Dundalk, and
the architect a Mr. Brennan, a Derry man. Many Dundalk
men worked here during the construction. One of them - Neil
Colburn, took to himself a Glenfin woman as his wife,
so did Michael Copis. Others were Peter Matthews,
Plunket McGahon, and a Mr. McGivern. Some of them
boarded in Moys' of Cloghanmore. Of all the Glenfin
men who assisted in the construction work, the only survivor
is said to be the still hale and hearty Jimmy Carlin,
Tonduff. He was reputed to have a good head for heights -
and is said to have assisted in placing the Cross over the
main door in position. Because of his long association with
the then parish priest, both in Glenfin and later on for many
years in Fanad, Jimmy became affectionately known as 'Jimmy
The Church of Kilteevogue
was said to be the first Church in Ireland to
have been dedicated to 'Our Lady of Perpetual
Mountcharles freestone was used in the building. It was
brought from Cloghan railway Station to the site by horse
When the contractor arrived on the site in 1925 to survey
the site, he required that some excavation be carried out
at either end. The late John Boyce and Mick McGinty
(Micky Neddy), still happily with us, carried out the
Canon Patrick Molloy seems to have been the last surviving
priest of the large attendance of priests on the occasion
of the Official Opening. He died in July, 1977.
The late Bishop MacNeeley, assisted
by Fr. Murray and Fr. Gallagher performing the blessing.
Also included are two of the altar-boys, Liam and Jim
A man named Boyce from Aughaveagh was said to have
been at the opening of the old Church in 1825, and was still
alive in 1928. Dr. Gormley offered to bring him along
to the ceremony, and remain with him in case he required medical
aid. The offer was declined.
Fr. Murray, parish priest, invited Rev. Dr. Doogan
C.C., then curate in Edeninfagh, to come here to Kilteevogue
on the day prior to the opening to coach us altar-boys. He
was an authority in matters rubical, and he put the altar-boys
through their paces. Fr. James Gallagher and Willie
T. McMenamin came along on the eve of the opening to see
how things were progressing.
Fr. John McMenamin, later to be a curate in Kilteevogue,
was ordained on the day of the Dedication, at Maynooth. I
remember the wonderful rich baritone voice of the late Fr.
Joe Sheridan, a parish priest of Carrigart, as he sang
the Solemn High Mass. I recall that Mrs. James McCool,
Kinaderra, was buried on that day.
I also recall that before the Mass, we, the altar-boys, had
a problem with tall candlesticks on a tall Altar, but Fr.
Peadar McGlinchey - himself a tall man - came to our aid
and solved the problem. I remember distinctly, kneeling before
the princely figure of Bishop McNeely with the thurible
at the ready. Among the altar-boys were Tony Sweeney,
Brockagh; John McMenamin (John Peter); Jim McMenamin,
Monsignor Hannigan of the Menevia Diocese was the first
child to be baptised in the new Church, and was also the first
priest to be ordained there in 1954. At the rear of the Church
is a commemorative plaque.
Father Coyle, a stern and forbidding member of the
old school of Redemptorists, preached the Dedication sermon.
These are some of my reminiscences.
Liam McMenamin N.T., 1978