St Joseph’s RC Church

The Wreckers

The following is an extract from "Glenavy The Church of the Dwarf 1868 – 1968" by Rev. Patrick J. Kavanagh.


During the dark days of the early eighteenth century Mass was also celebrated on a hill in Ballymacrickett where, just as in the Largy there was a good view. Sometime around the 1760’s probably, this too was elevated into a "Mass-house." It stood there until 1798 when seven or eight locals who called themselves "The Wreckers" lived up to their name. There seems to have been an organised plan of destruction as around the same time the old churches or "Mass-houses" of the Rock, Derryaghy, Aghagallon and Ballinderry were also destroyed.

The poverty of the priests and people during the nineteenth century is almost impossible to believe in our more affluent days. Fr. Crangle was Parish Priest at the time of "the wrecking" and he is the first of the priests of the parish who emerges from the records as a person of flesh and blood, and not just as a name on a tombstone. He was a native of Sheepland in Dunsford and was ordained at home before going abroad, as was the custom, and studied at the College of Vadastus in Douai getting the degree of B. Philos. at the University there. In 1783 he returned to Ireland and worked in Belfast, and on May 25. 1787, came to Glenavy. He had a brother who lived at Darachrean-indeed this is still known as "Crangle’s Hill"-and the priest lodged with his brother. On Aug. 20, 1802. he got 13 guineas compensation for the damage caused to the church, and Fr. Devlin of Derryaghy got 12 guineas. It was Fr. Crangle who re-erected the church at Chapel Hill. Ballymacrickett, which is described as "a neat modern building measuring 60 feet by 30 feet." It was used until the erection of the present building. There is another story that Fr. Crangle lived in a house which formed part of the church, but whether this was an interim measure while the new church was being built or not it is now impossible to say. It is possible that he feared "the Wreckers" might one day return. The old chapel was of stone, roofed with thatch, and probably had an earthen floor. Fr. Crangle died in 1813 or 1814 and was buried beside it. The position of his grave is roughly about the position of the sacristy door in the present building.

On Palm Sunday, and at other times when the priest could not conveniently celebrate two Masses, it was customary to say Mass at a place called "The Gulf," on the bank of Lough Neagh, which was nearly central for the two congregations, but this custom had to be stopped because of disturbance by Orange mobs. When the Catholics ceased using the Mass-house at Thompson’s they used to assemble for Mass at a store-house in Ballyginniff. This was a long building with thick walls covered with ivy and surrounded by trees. Mr. McClure who later owned this property found human bones in the vicinity. Fr. Crangle as well as building the church in Ballymacrickett, built a small chapel in the townland of Ballyquillin which was later enlarged into the present church.

The date of the erection of this old chapel is not known. The building in Ballymacrickett was completed by Fr. Crangle in 1802. From the time of the "wrecking" Mass had been said among its ruins.

Religion, riots and rhyme in Glenavy

Glenavy Parish Church

Glenavy Parish Church

The people of Glenavy and surrounding districts in previous generations were no strangers to violence. Early records and documents that have survived the ravages of time give us a brief insight into the troubled past.

A Mrs Adkinson, wife of Captain Adkinson, related her experiences of the burnings in Lurgan in 1641 and the effects the uprising during that period had on her family. She had relocated to Glenavy according to Public Record Office of Northern Ireland D695/145.

It was often said that the Parish Church in the village had escaped the notice of Oliver Cromwell due to the density of trees in the area, unlike the churches of Templecormac, Tullyrusk and Trummery. Read more »

Memorials of the Dead

The following extract is from a book titled "Memorials of the Dead" printed in the early 20th century.

The Roman Catholic chapel is a neat modern building (1816), 60 feet long by 30 wide; and is situated in the town land of Ballymacricket, within half-a-mile of the town of Glenavy. The Rev. Patrick Blaney is the priest. This chapel was built about 15 years ago by subscription; to which the Marquis of Hertford and the Protestants of the union liberally contributed.

Progress of Conciliation

The following is an extract from the Manchester Courier dated 29th August 1829.

Progress of conciliation – on the 2d inst (says the Belfast Guardian) a number of Protestants attended the funeral of a Roman Catholic to the place of interment, in the chapel of Glenavy. When the priest was attired in his habiliments, he commenced the service by announcing the infallibility of the Roman Catholic church. At this time a Protestant came into the chapel, his everence fixed his eyes upon him, and after a few minutes pause the rev. gentleman spoke to the following effect: – "Begone you monster, you ignoramus, from under this holy roof – from amongst this holy Roman Catholic worshipping congregation. – You are a disgrace to Christians – you are inferior to a beast. Begone out; for if I come down from this holy altar of God I will make you never to come back here to use your uncharitable way of carrying off our manner of worshipping, and degrading us behind our back." The unoffending Protestant thus abused, and most shamefully too, in the house of God, withdrew. The rev. gentleman, instead of holding to the service he had first commenced, turned to his hearers, and harangued them thus:- "The Protestants and Presbyterians of Glenavy, and likewise the grunting Methodists, are a disgrace to a holy congregation like this before me. They are like wild crabs in a delicious garden of fruit – nay, they are a great deal worse, they are tigers in the fertile fields of this happy isle. Happy would it be if it were not for these monsters. But they will be subdued – the chains are a making for them, and they are riveting them together with their own hands." Such was the language of the pastor of the Roman Catholic congregation of Glenavy.

Roman Catholic Chapel 1830s

The following extract is from "Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland – Parishes of County Antrim VII 1832 – 1838". Thanks to The Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen’s University of Belfast for permission to use this extract.

Ecclesiastical Union

There is a neat Roman catholic chapel in Ballymacricket town land, situated near the road from Glenavy to Moira.

Glenavy – Religion

The Roman Catholic chapel in this parish serves also for the neighbouring ones. The priest is supported solely by his flock.

At this time the memoirs tell us there were 1,484 Roman Catholics in this parish in the revised census of 1834.

Glenavy – Public Buildings

There is a neat Roman Catholic chapel situated near the road from Glenavy to Moira, in the town land of Ballymacricket; built in 1802. There are 17 seats in aisle, would contain 85 persons; in gallery 28 seats, would contain 85 persons; in gallery 28 seats, would contain 140 persons; cost between 350 to 400 pounds, dimensions 68 by 33. The expense of the erection of the chapel was defrayed by generous subscriptions and collections. Built at various periods, the interior of this chapel is extremely neat. It is always decorated with ivy, and over the communion table there is a picture of Our Saviour crucified (not a good one), but it gives a finished appearance to the place.

The memoirs also state:

The other public buildings in the parish consist of the Roman Catholic chapel situated near the road from Glenavy to Moira, in the town land of Ballymacricket, and three-quarters of a mile south of the village of Glenavy. It was erected in 1902 on the ruins of the former chapel which was burned during the rebellion of 1798. It measures 68 feet long and 33 feet, and consists a gallery and accomodation for about 400 persons. It is plain but neat in its appearance, being roughcast and neatly whitened. The interior is as yet but partially seated. It has cost between 350 and 400 pounds, which was defrayed by subscription. The interior of the chapel is tastefully decorated with evergreens, and over the altar is a painting of the Crucifixion. This, however, is not a very masterly production.


The following is an extract from the Belfast Newsletter dated September 21 1830 and appears with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.

At an Ordination last week in Belfast, the following persons were ordained Priests by the Right Rev. Dr. Crolly:- Messrs. McKenna, Tyrella, County Down; Fitzsimmons, Belfast; Young, Glenavy, County Antrim

Thom’s Almanac & Official Directory — 1845

The following is an extract from 1845 Thom’s Almanac & Official Directory

R.C. Church – James Denvir, P.P. Joseph Canning, Curate. Post town Crumlin.

The following extract is from "Diocese of Down & Connor Ancient and Modern" by Rev. J. O’Laverty P.P.M.R.I.A.

During the times of persecution, Mass was celebrated at the site of the present church of Glenavy, which is in the town land of Ballymacricket, and at a high bank in the town land of Ardmore, which overhangs Lough Neagh. The Catholics erected, about the period of the Restoration, a Mass House at Ardmore, the walls of which form part of the dwelling house of Mr. Thomson; they afterwards erected a chapel at the Mass Station in Ballymacricket. On Palm Sundays, and at other times when the priest could not conveniently celebrate two Masses, it was customary to celebrate Mass at a place called "The Gulf" on Lough Neagh, below Crumlin, which was nearly central for the two congregations; this custom was given up on account of disturbance caused by Orange mobs. The chapel of Ballymacricket, or Glenavy, was burned in 1796 by the Wreckers, after which Mass was celebrated at the ruins, until another chapel was built by Father Crangle in 1802. A new church, dedicated under the invocation of St. Joseph, was erected on the site of the old chapel by Father Pye. It was consecrated by Dr. Dorrian, September 13th 1868, and the sermon on the occasion was preached by Dr. McCabe, Bishop of Ardagh. The church is built of black stone, relieved by the light colour of the cut stone round the windows and doors. There is an arched ceiling, but the principal timbers of the roof are exposed. A small bell-tower, surmounted by a spire, rises from the south-western angle of the nave, in which is placed a bell, manufactured by Mr. Sheridan, Dublin, weighing ten cwt. The altar window is traceried, the western gable is pierced by five lancets of varying lengths, and the side walls by single lancets. A small gallery for the choir occupies the western end of the church. The building was from designs, and under the superintendence, of Mr. John O’Neill, Architect of the firm of O’Neill & Byrne.

On the opposite side of the road, a commodious and beautiful parochial house has been erected on a farm of eleven acres, held at a yearly rent of £10 10s., under a fee-farm grant dated the 19th of September, 1874, from Sir Richard Wallace, to the Most Rev. Dr. Dorrian and the Rev. George Pye.

Concert at Glenavy – 1886

The following extract is from The Lisburn Standard 13th March 1886.

Concert at Glenavy – The annual evening concert in connection with the choir of St. Joseph’s Glenavy, came off on Monday, the 8th inst., in the Ballymacrickett School – rooms, which were tastefully decorated for the occasion. Several distinguished amateurs from Lisburn kindly lent their services, and their several items were heartily applauded. The first part opened with selections from the orchestra. The choir then sang "On Music" (Moore). Mr. Crossan, Lisburn sang "Three Jolly Sailors"; and in the second part "The Call to Arms", to both of which his fine voice did ample justice. Mr. Thomas Goodman, Lisburn, entranced the audience by his inimitable impersonations, which included the following:- "The Crack Pot in the City"; "Mr. Macanality"; "Come down and open the door", and convulsed the house with laughter in his female impersonation of "My Husband, Teddy". Mr. Herbert, Lisburn, gave "Pat O’Hara" also, beautiful selections on the piccolo in his usual masterly style. "The Outlaw" and "The Warrior Bold" were rendered beautifully by Mr. Mulholland, Lisburn. The other items included "The Cricket Gallop," and "The Irish Quadrilles", by the Orchestra, and "Farewell, but whenever you Welcome the Hour", and "Oh! Where’s the Slave so Lowly?" by the choir, after which Messrs. Goodman and Walsh gave a splendid Negro entertainment, with banjo and bones, and some choice conundrums and local "hits", which the audience highly appreciated. The entertainment concluded with the screaming farce entitled "Master and Servant", by Messrs. Walsh and Goodman. The Very Rev. G. Pye, P.P., the highly esteemed pastor of the parish, delivered a short address suitable to the occasion, after which the company separated, highly delighted with the amusement of the evening. During the evening, Mr. John Loughery presided at the harmonium.

Concert at St Joseph’s

A concert & varied entertainment
in connection with the
Choir of St. Joseph’s, Glenavy,
will be held in
The Schoolrooms,
On Friday Evening, 31st January, 1890.
The local Artistes will be assisted by several
Distinguished Amateurs.
Doors open at 7.30. Commence at 8 o’clock
Tickets One Shilling

The Morning News Limited, Printers, Belfast.

A ticket from 1890 for a concert in St Joseph's, Glenavy

A ticket from 1890 for a concert in St Joseph’s, Glenavy

Estate of William John Gillen

The following is an extract from The Lisburn Standard – Saturday, December 6th 1890

Take notice that William John Gillen. Late of Lurganteniel, Ballinderry, in the County of Antrim, Farmer, who died on the 2nd July, 1890 by his will dated 29th of April 1890, gave the following charitable Bequest – To the Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s, Glenavy, the sun of £10 sterling, to be devoted to help defraying debt on Catholic Church, Glenavy. And Testator appointed as his executors Rev. George Pye, P.P., of Glenavy; Hugh Gillen, of Crewe, and James Horner, of Lurganteniel aforesaid, surviving executors, on the 29th day of October, 1890, forth of the District Registry at Belfast of the Probate and Matrimonial Division of the High Court of Justice in Ireland.

Dated this 24th day of November 1890.

G.B. Wilkins, Solicitor for said executors, Market Square, Lisburn; and 4 Upper Ormonde Quay, Dublin.
To the commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests, and all whom it may concern.

The Lisburn Standard reported on 13 12 1890 – biddings on the property that belonged to William John Gillen. Mr George Fleeton £70 & £105
Mr Denis Gillen £100, £110, £160 & £170 (purchaser)
Mr William Fleeton £159 & £165.

Parochial House, Glenavy

The Parochial House, Glenavy

The Parochial House, Glenavy

Edward McCreanor

The following is an extract from The Irish News dated Tuesday 17th May 1904 by permission of The Irish News.


McCreanor – May 16, at his residence, Kilcorrig, Knockbreda Road, Ormeau Road, Edward McCreanor, J.P., ex-Inspector of National Schools, formerly of Ballyoonan House, Omeath. – R.I.P.

(Solemn Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul on to-morrow, Wednesday), 13th inst at ten o’clock, in the Church of the Holy Rosary, Ormeau Road. The remains will be removed for interment in Glenavy, from Holy Rosary Church, at eleven o’clock, on to-morrow (Wednesday).

Death of Mr. Edward McCreanor, J.P.

Edward McCreanor, J.P.

Edward McCreanor, J.P.

It is with deep regret we announce the death of Mr. Edward McCreanor, ex-inspector of national schools, which took place yesterday morning at his residence, Kilcorrig, Knockbreda Road, in this city. Edward McCreanor was one of the earliest appointments as an inspector made by the Commissioners on the establishment of the national system in Ireland, and for well nigh half a century he discharged the duties of the important office in various parts of the country with great efficiency, and in a manner that won for the system sympathy from those who were disposed to look upon it in the beginning with disfavour.

His lot as an inspector under the board was first cast in Co. Mayo, and during the term of office in the extensive district of which he had charge he succeeded in establishing fifty-three national schools under the management of the local clergy.

Whether in Mayo, Clonmel, Drogheda, Ballymena, or the Newry district, it was all the same – the work of multiplying schools for the benefit of the little ones and of raising the standard of education found in him a warm supporter, and possessed for him a deep interest. Edward McCreanor was born in the parish of Glenavy, County Antrim, 83 years ago.

He received his early education in St. Malachy’s College, Belfast, in which institution the then Bishop of the diocese, the Most Rev. Cornelius Denvir, took a very keen interest. The traits of character and talent displayed by young McCreanor made him find favour with the professors of St. Malachy’s and its president, Dr. Denvir, to whose guidance he owed much of the success of his subsequent career. In the year 1852 he entered the service of the Board of Commissioners of National Education, of which the Bishop of Down and Connor was then a most distinguished member. His fifty years of service under the Board were years of labour and useful work, and won for him the good opinion of those who had control of the education of the youth of the country. While in charge of the Newry district through failing health he forwarded his resignation, which was received with reluctance by the Commissioners. After his retirement, Mr. McCreanor spent his well-earned leisure in his beautiful residence at Ballyoonan, Omeath, on the shores of Carlingford Lough. Three years ago he came to reside in Belfast having previously presented to the Roanimians, or Fathers of Charity, the munificent gift of the mansion and grounds of Ballyoonan. During his long life he loved to be doing good. To his zeal for God’s honour and their betterment of his fellow man many excellent works of charity owe their origin or were largely assisted by him in the various districts in which he lived. On the occasion of his removal from Drogheda to Ballymena he was made the recipient of an address and presentation of plate, and received the well-merited tribute of being mainly instrumental in establishing the industrial school, under the care of the Sisters of Charity in Drogheda. Recognising the fruitfulness of the labours of this world-famed Order of Sisters among the poor of Drogheda, he was instrumental in having established at Clonard, on the Falls, a branch of the same holy Sisterhood. Mr. McCreanor had a wide circle of friends, who were much attached to him. His kind and genial manner, his great personal worth and high principals, made him a favourite with all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. Among his most intimate friends and admirers were some of the leading ecclesiastics of Ireland, who will learn to-day with deep regret that he has passed away. He died yesterday at his residence on Knockbreda Road, after a long and painful illness, arising from a cold contracted in the end of March, and borne with Christian resignation. Nothing that medical skill could do was left undone by his medical advisers, Dr. N. McDonnell and Alderman Dr. P.R. O’Connell. Fortified by the last rites and consolations of holy Church, of which he was during life such a devoted child, surrounded by the local clergy. The good Sisters of Nazareth, and his loving and devoted daughter and niece, yesterday morning he peacefully passed to his reward – R,I.P.

There will be solemn Mass of Requiem for the repose of his soul in the Church of the Holy Rosary, Ormeau Road, on Wednesday morning, at ten o’clock. The funeral to Glenavy will take place immediately after the Mass.

The following extract is from The Irish News dated Thursday 19th May 1904 by permission of The Irish News.

The Late Mr. Edward McCreanor, J.P.
Obsequies Yesterday

At 7.30a.m. yesterday the remains of the late Mr. Edward McCreanor, J.P., were removed from his residence, Kilcorrig, Knockbreda Road, City, to the Church of the Holy Rosary, Ballynafeigh. They were enclosed in a suite of coffins, the outer one of massive oak with heavy brass mountings, through the interstices of which a rich red plush foundation was visible. The interior of the church was hung with sombre mourning drapery arranged by Mr. Leo McKenna and some of the Sisters of Nazareth. The bier on which the coffin was placed was covered with a dark purple pall and surrounded by the usual number of candles.

At ten o’clock solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated in the presence of a very large congregation, including many clergymen, Sisters of Nazareth, and Sisters of Charity, whose presence was a tribute to the untiring zeal in the cause of religion and charity which the deceased gentleman had manifested during a long lifetime. It was peculiarly fitting, too, in view of his lifelong exertions on behalf of the little ones, that the orphan girls who have found a home in Nazareth House and the boys from Nazareth Lodge should attend the solemn service. The latter occupied the Gospel side of the church and the girls the Epistle side.

His Lordship the Most Rev. Dr. Henry, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor, presided at the Mass, the celebrant being Rev. D. McCartan, C.C., Holy Rosary; deacon, Very Rev. Robert crickard, P.P., do.; master of ceremonies, very Rev. J. Conway; assistant at throne, Rev. Joseph Burns,Adm., St. Mary’s. The chanters were Very rev. D.B. Falvey, O.P., Prior, St. Catherine’s, Newry, and Rev. J.K. O’Neill, Adm., St. Patrick’s. There was a very large choir of clergymen, and amongst those present were – Very Rev. Dr. Laverty, V.G., President St. Malachy’s College, Belfast; Very Rev. John O’Brien, P.P., V.G., Banbridge; Very Rev. John Conway, P.P., V.F., Larne; Very Rev. James Crickard, P.P., V.F., Loughinisland; Very Rev. Matthew Lynch, P.P., V.F., Rostrevor; rev. D. McDonnell, P.P. Ligoniel;Very Rev. John Macaulay, P.P., Ballymacarrett; Rev. Richard Storey, P.P., Hannahstown; Rev. Murtagh McPolin, P.P., Loughbrickland; Rev.Edmund Hassett, P.P., Glenarm; Rev. D.A. Boyd, O.P., St. Magdalene’s, Drogheda; Rev. John Harrington, O.C., St. Joseph’s, Ferryhouse, Clonmel; rev. Tomothy Buckley, O.C. (Master of Novices), St. Michael’s, Omeath; Rev. peter Campbell, P.P. Tullylish, Laurencetown, County Down; Rev. Patrick Scally, C.C., St. Matthew’s; rev. James Small, C.C., St Mary’s; Rev. J.F. Macauley, C.C., do.; Rev. John Hill C.C. St. Patrick’s; Rev. Michael Laverty, C.C., do.; Rev. H. Liddy, C.C., Sacred Heart; Rev. M. Leahy, C.C., St. Malachy’s; Rev. Dominic O’Neill, C.P., Holy Cross, Ardoyne; Rev. Charles McDonnell, C.C., St Joseph’s; Rev. J.M. Laverty, C.C., St. Paul’s; Rev. N. Campbell, C.C., Derriaghy, hannastown; Rev. J. Hassan, C.C., Castlewellan; Rev. John Rooney, C.C. Glenavy; Rev. Peter Moore, C.C. Newbridge, Toomebridge; Rev. P. Boyle, professor, St. Malachy’s College.

At eleven o’clock the requiem Mass having concluded the remains were conveyed to the hearse, which was drawn up outside the church and a few minutes afterwards the funeral procession started for Glenavy, where the interment was to take place. A very large number of carriages followed the hearse, but the majority of the mourners accompanied the cortege on foot during its passage through the city despite the inclement weather which prevailed. The chief mourners were – Miss Josephine McCreanor, daughter; Miss Annie McCreanor, niece; and Mr. Patrick McCreanor, nephew. In addition to his Lordship the Bishop and the clergymen already mentioned the following laity accompanied the sad procession – Alderman William McCormick, J.P.; Councillor J.J. McDonnell, J.P., architect; Dr. P.R. O’Connell, senior surgeon, Mater Infirmorum Hospital; Dr. N.J. McDonnell, Dr. O’Malley, J.P.; Dr. John O’Doherty; Messrs. Wm. Downey, Arthur McCann, J.P., Newry; Michael McConville, do.; Joseph Carroll, solicitor do.; Councillor Patrick Laverty, solicitor; J.L. McDonnell, solicitor; Francis L. Hughes, solicitor; Frank Kerr, solicitor; John Hollywood, J.P.; Gerald McCamphill, J.P. Whitehouse; Alexander Fisher, Andrew Maguire, Thomas Grahame, Glenavy; Henry Maguire, solicitor; John Henry, Hugh O’Kane, J.K. McHugh, Daniel McKiernan, Terence Davitt, Ballynafiegh; Dr. J.P. Kerr, B.L.; Feliz Laverty, J.P. O’Callaghan, John McStay, Neil Blaney, John Keenan, Joseph Keenan, James Hefferan, T.J. Campbell, B.L.; Patrick Doherty, James McCorry, J.P.; J. Smith, – Baringer, Francis Kinder, Daniel O’Herliby, Wm. MacSorley, Patrick Curran, Frank Convery, Daniel O’Hagan, Chas. McAuley, Thos. McAuley, Patrick Murray, Wm. Muldoon, Rosario Male N.S.; Jas. Dalzell, J. McConnell, Henry Toner, P.P. McGlade, J. McMahon, Wm. Augustus Rose, B.L. &c.

His Lordship the Most Rev. Dr. Henry and a large number of clergy and laity travelled the seventeen miles to Glenavy, where his Lordship officiated at the graveside. The Rev. Mother Superioress and some of the Sisters of Nazareth House also went with the funeral to Glenavy.

All the undertaking arrangements were in charge of Messrs. Hugh O’Kane & Co., Donegall Street, Belfast, who managed everything with care and judgement.

The following is an extract from Book of the Bazaar – The Official Guide and Souvenir. St. Joseph’s New Schools, Crumlin. October 6 – 9, 1914.

AMONGST the men of Glenavy who rose to eminence during the last century, no one secured a higher place in the esteem of his fellow-parishioners than the late Edward MacCreanor, J.P. Born of an old Catholic family in the parish, he was a grown-up boy before the National System of Education came into being. He must have received, however, a good elementary education at home, for we find him carrying off the highest prizes and distinctions whilst he was a student of St. Malachy’s College. This College had been opened on the Feast of St. Malachy, 1833, by Dr. Crolly, then Bishop of Down and Connor. Dr. Denvir, who was its President from that date until he became Bishop, in 1835, was regarded in his day as one of the most distinguished scientists in Ireland. It was under Dr. Denvir that Edward MacCreanor studied, and amongst his fellow-students was one destined to become Parish Priest of Glenavy, afterwards the Very Rev. George Pye. Some time after leaving St. Malachy’s Mr. MacCreanor was appointed Inspector under the National Board. In his new sphere he had an opportunity of proving his zeal for religion and learning. His first district was Westport, which then included the whole of Mayo, with the exception of one barony. During the three years in that district he succeeded in getting over 53 new schools erected. This may be taken as an index of the good work he did for Education during the long years he held the post of Inspector. Mr. MacCreanor’s talents and zeal for Education were soon recognised, and he was gradually promoted to the rank of Chief Inspector. He retired in 1892, and lived principally at Ballyoonan house, Omeath, County Louth. About three years before his death he presented this mansion (now Mount St. Michael’s) to the Fathers of Charity, who have made it their Irish Noviciate. A beautiful Calvary and Way of the Cross stand close by the Monastery in the open air, and in the summer time a constant stream of visitors may be seen there moving reverently around the Stations.

After giving up this beautiful mansion at Omeath that young ecclesiastics might there be trained in virtue and prepared for the work of the Mission, he took up his residence in Belfast. He died at Kilcorrig, Knockbreda Road, Ballynafeigh, on 16th May, 1904, fortified by the rites of the Church. As was befitting such a dutiful son of the Church, and one who had done so much quietly, and almost stealthily, for the cause of religion, education and charity, Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated for the happy repose of his soul in the Church of the Holy Rosary, Ballynafeigh, which was attended by a large concourse of people. As a mark of the general respect in which the deceased was held, his Lordship Dr. Henry accomplished the remains all the way to Glenavy, and officiated at the graveside.

Marriage – McGready/Fleeton

The following extract is from The Irish News dated Friday October 16th 1914. It is reproduced with permission of The Irish News.


McGready – Fleeton – October 7th 1914 at Glenavy Church (with Nuptial Mass) by the Rev. Francis McBride, P.P., Joseph, youngest son of the late Patrick McGready, to Elizabeth Lucinda, eldest daughter of William John Fleeton, Killultagh, Upper Ballinderry.

The following article is the final article in a series of seven titled "Glenavy" and written by William McLeavy. The articles originally appeared in The Lisburn Herald in 1923. Please note that some of the original articles were unreadable.

Roman Catholic Chapel 1923

The Lisburn Herald, Saturday July 7th 1923

My sketch would be incomplete and a great injustice in a large portion of the community coming under my review if I omitted to make reference to the venerable and highly honoured Parish priest of Glenavy, the Very Reverend George Pye, V.G., who for over forty years held the uninterrupted position of Parish Priest of Glenavy and Killead. Coming to the parish a comparatively young man from the adjacent parish of the "Rock", he very soon distinguished himself as a capable, wise, shrewd, and sagacious administrator of the affairs and management of this large and populous parish. Possessing the rare qualities of discernment and penetration of human nature, he was able to enforce discipline in a manner to command both obedience and respect; and on his teaching and pulpit ministration he set up a high ideal of Christian ethics in his dealings, and has been often known to remonstrate and denounce severely anyone violating in act or deed the precepts , insisting on full restitution, even to the uttermost farthing. He was held in high esteem by the Protestant community, who, on special occasions requiring financial assistance, showed in a practical manner their sympathy and liberality in his undertaking, due, no doubt, in great measure in his pleasing and commanding personality. Although a loyal and devoted son of the Church, yet has broadminded and sympathetic nature went out to suffering humanity irrespective of creed or class, and rarely a funeral of a noted person in the parish passed without the presence of Father Pye paying his last respects to the deceased; and to the knowledge of the writer, he has been often know n to call in the house of the mourning to offer his sympathy and condolence to the bereaved ones. We can recall his homely attitude, riding through the parish with pleasing stride and kindly salute, not withheld even to the person seeking alms. The toilers of the land found in him a warm-hearted friend, his unflinching attitude on their behalf and advocacy for fair rent, fixture of tenancy, and free sale, obtained by the Land Act 1881, commanding universal praise from those aggrieved. He was a sound educationalist and agreed that the National system of education met the needs of the nation in the matter of primary education. He set an example and practice by visiting schools not under his management or jurisdiction, and imparting to the children of his care religious instruction. In this matter our present day legislation is not much in advance of Father Pye’s conception. In addition to the many qualities enumerated he was a brilliant and distinguished scholar and linguist so versed and skilled in languages that he could give the origin of words and phrases almost off-hand. It was feared at one time Glenavy would lose him on promotion most exalted position in the Church, and I think I might venture the assertion that his desire and wish was to remain with the people whom a binding and mutual bond of affection and goodwill had noted. No more tangible proof exists than the memorial in the chapel yard erected by his sorrowing flock in sacred remembrance of his long and faithful protectorate as Parish Priest of Glenavy. Doubtless some of your older readers will remember the famous controversy he had with the Revd. E. Johnston-Smyth, then rector of Glenavy on doctrinal matters which eventually created such absorbed interest and enthusiasm. These lectures were afterwards published in pamphlet form. I feel in this brief review I could not do a?? justice to his many noble qualities of heart and soul. Although dead his ??as a voice calling us to come out of the dead and live and make history.

Lives of great men oft penned it
We can make our lives sublime
And departing leave behind it
Footprints on the ends of time.”

Reviewing my work, I wish to revert back to the village and to say that I presume a rural district is so well represented in the various trades and professional ? ? in Ulster as Glenavy. Here we have in addition to the blacksmith referred to, the watchmaker, shoemaker, saddler, tailor, carpenter, mechanic, motor and bicycle works and in the professional sphere two medical doctors, two clergymen, and a schoolmaster, while it is our ? Boast of having possessed a poet, and as a lilting close to my series of articles I finish with McWilliam’s poem:

Glenavy dear, my native soil,
Where there I spent my early days,

Though distant from thee many a mile
I’ll still incline to sing your praise;
Your bright green hills, your meadows broad,
Your walks and groves and streamlets clear.
Where many a pleasant hour I spent
Unknown to care, Glenavy dear.

Sweet Ballymote, that friendly spot
Where there my eyes behold the light,

Imagination paints the spot
For in it I took your pure delight
And from the hill I went to school.
To Ingram’s Mount, or very near,
And never yet I dreamed at all
To part with thee, Glenavy dear.

It was there my principles were formed,
It was there I learned to use the quill,

To write and cypher there I learned
And these, thank god, befriends me still;
Some hundred times on Sunday morn,
Our reverend prelate for to hear,
With heart so light, and free from harm,
I passed through thee Glenavy dear.

The silver lake below the town,
Where boats do scud before the gale,

Where fish in plenty do abound
The speckled trout and curling eel;
At sweet sixteen I’ve often been
Along your sweet, delightful shore.
Reflecting on the early scenes
Reminds me of Glenavy dear.

Oftimes on Saturday, I came
Into Glenavy all alone,

And when into that town I came
The best of company there I found,
Into the inn where we went in,
Where we drank whiskey, ale and beer,
If I had time and cash to spend,
I’d spend it in Glenavy dear.

Now twenty years have nearly run
Since I these groves and glens surveyed,

My comrades are dispersed and gone,
And of my friends great numbers dead,
My father and my mother too,
In death’s cold shade do moulder here,
It soon may be my fortune too,
So fare-thee-well, Glenavy dear.

Postcard of St Joseph’s

St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Glenavy

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Glenavy
Postmark on rear 16th September 1955.
Addressed to Mrs O’Sullivan, 426 Falls Road, Belfast

Death Notice – Susanna Just

The following extract is from the Irish News dated 14th February 1925. It appears here with the permission of the Irish News.


Just – 12th February, 1925, at her residence, Chapel Hill, Glenavy, Susanna, relict of the late John Just. – R.I.P. Funeral to family burying ground to-day (Saturday), at 2pm.

Glenavy Carnival Week 1961

Glenavy Carnival Week 1961

Front cover of “Glenavy Carnival Week 1961”

This publication is the First Annual Parish Carnival Week, Chapel Hill, Glenavy Souvenir Programme 14th – 21st May 1961. The proceeds in aid of Church Building Renovation Fund. Provided by Glenavy Carnival Committee.

View Transcription

Carnival Week

The following is an extract from the "The Irish News and Belfast Morning News", dated Saturday May 11 1968, and is reproduced with permission of The Irish News.

St. Clare’s Hall, Glenavy
Carnival Week
Tonight (Sat.) – Schoolboy Boxing
At 8pm.
Admission (Adults) 5s

Sunday Dancing
Admission 7/6. Usual buses
Closing tonight
Barry’s Amusements
In the carnival grounds
Dodgems, chair planes, cyclone, etc.
All the fun of the fair.

Death Notice — Edward Dolway McCorry

The following is an extract from the Belfast Newsletter dated 5th March 1938, and is reproduced with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.


McCorry (Glenavy) March 3rd 1938 at her residence, Aghadalgon, Glenavy, Mary relict of the late Edward Dolway McCorry – RIP. Funeral to the family burying ground, St. Joseph’s Glenavy today (Saturday), 5th inst., at 2.30pm.

On her soul sweet Jesus have mercy.
Deeply regretted by her sorrowing family.

Turkey Whist Drive

The following is an extract from The Ulster Star dated 23rd November 1963 and used with permission of The Ulster Star.

Killultagh Hunt Club

Turkey Whist Drive
Tuesday 10th December
In Parochial Hall, Chapel Hill, Glenavy

Admission 7/6

(including supper and hidden prize)

Cake Stall – Bumper Ballot.

Parish of Glenavy and Killead, Memories of Jubilee 2000

Parish of Glenavy and Killead, Memories of Jubilee 2000

Parish of Glenavy and Killead, Memories of Jubilee 2000

This book contains 190 pages of local information, adverts and history. The following is a précis of the contents:

* Robert Burns, R.I.P. There is an article on the late Robert Burns R.I.P., a native of Aldergrove. He was born in 1920, one of 9 children, and brought up on the Diamond Road. He was the son of Robert and Sarah Burns. He worked for an aircraft maintenance unit – 23MU, Aldergrove for 37 years. He served as a member of Antrim Borough Council from 1981 to 1987.

He was a member of the Killultagh Historical Society. He was a well known beekeeper and former president of the Ulster Beekeepers Association.

He helped to form and organise Crumlin Boys Football Club in 1974. He died on 27th November 1997.

* Mater Dei Flower Group – decorate the church on special occasions including Easter, Christmas, First Communion and Confirmation times.

* In 1961 Mary Murray R.I.P., from Corbally started the Aldergrove and Crumlin branch of the Apostolic. The object is to assist priests and nuns working in deprived countries and missions.

* Down & Connor Diocesan Pilgrimage in Lourdes. This has been organised since July 1984.

* Wee Paddy Cardwell. – he was the twelfth of thirteen children born to Thomas and Bella Cardwell.
When his mother died he went to reside with his brother and sister-in-law, Willie and Maud Cardwell, for a while. In the early 1970s he came to live with his sister Brigid and brother-in-law Dan Trowlen at Cairn Gardens, Crumlin. He outlived all his brothers and sisters and died aged 78 years on 3rd August, 2000.

* The Crew Hill

* List of parishioners who died during the Jubilee 2000

* The Glenavy Community Association becomes Glenavy Development Partnership

In 1978, at the Methodist Hall in Glenavy, a cross community meeting took place and an organisation was formed with the main purpose of organising an annual festival in the village each year.

In the year 2000, Mrs Sylvia Price was listed as the secretary since the organisation’s foundation. The chair person for the Millennium year was Mrs June Nicholl. At that time plans were being developed to preserve the only two-wheeled mill in Ireland by the association.

* St. Joseph’s Primary School – photos of Primary 1 and Primary 7 classes and other articles.

* Feumore Readers – started reading in the late 1960’s.

* Feumore Choir – a small organ was purchased in 1977 and a choir formed.

* Feumore Altar Society – formed in September 2000. Maintain the cleanliness of Feumore Mass Centre.

* Treetops playgroup – St Clare’s Hall. Glenavy – a local playgroup. Includes name of children who attended from 1995 – September 2000.

* A man for all seasons – Harry McCloskey 19 03 1903 – 30 01 1999.

He was the youngest of 3 brothers, and lived in Crumlin, mostly at 71 Antrim Road, one of 4 semi detached cottages that stood on the present site of Glendarragh Park. In later life he was a gardener at Dunore House, the residence of the Commanding Officer at RAF Aldergrove.

* St. James’ G.A.C. Aldergrove.

In 1906 the first steps were taken to lay the foundation of a new football club.

* Camlin Credit Union

* St. James’ Youth Club – formed in the early sixties by junior members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The club was given the old school, situated on the Glenavy Road, when the new St. Joseph’s primary school was built in Crumlin. The Mater Dei church was built in 1973.

* Past times in Aldergrove – includes a photograph of the opening of the new school, Aldergrove 28th April 1958. And a broadcast Mass from the Church of St. James, Aldergrove on 14th December, 1947.

* The Bank Corner – a poem about the famous corner in Crumlin. Includes a photograph of Maud Fegan’s Shop in Crumlin and the Bank Corner, Crumlin.

* A Tribute to Vincent Crossey – requiem aeternam 5th October 1997. He was born on the eve of St Peter and St Paul 1928. John Vincent Crossey was born at Ballymaclose, Upper Ballinderry as the youngest child of five girls and two boys. He was to study the piano under the guidance of Bertrand Jones in Belfast.

In 1951 he took over the role of organist and choirmaster at St. Joseph’s Church, Glenavy. Miss Alice O’Boyle of Edenturcher, who would have been a teacher in Feumore, had led the choir previous to him. Includes photographs of Glenavy Choir and Colin and Vincent Crossey.

* Saint Philomena – the statue that was brought to the Parish in May 1998 for restoration.

* Glenavy Tae Kwon Do Club.

* Pioneer Total Abstinence Association – Father O’Hare, Parish Curate 1942 – 1946 was responsible for reviving this Association.

* Glenavy St. Vincent de Paul conference:- has been meeting since the late 1940’s. Past events included whist drives in St. Clare’s Hall and the Senior Citizen’s Christmas Dinner, running since the 1970’s.

* A teacher remembers – Rita McHenry who began her teaching career in Ballymacricket.

* Father John O’Sullivan, born 15 06 1924. He moved to Glenavy and Killead from Glenarm in 1980.

The following curates served with Fr. John in the Parish during his years in charge.

Fr. Brendan Mooney 1980 – 81
Fr. Denis McKinley 1981 – 1983
Fr. Seamus Murray 1983 – 1986
Fr. Sean McCartney 1986 – 1989
Fr. Martin Magill
Fr. Denis Watt 1990 – 1991
Fr. Sean McFerran 1991 – 1992
Fr. Michael Sheehan 1992 – 1997
Fr. David Delargg 1997 – present

He lived with his sister Marie at Glenavy Parochial House. On 15th October 2000 a retirement concert was held for him. During his time in the parish the following young men were ordained into the priesthood:-

Fr. Gregory Cormican ordained 1981
Fr. Patrick White ordained 1983
Fr. Aidan Brankin ordained 1986
Fr. Martin Magill ordained 1988
Fr. Francis O’Brien ordained 1992
Fr. Brian McCann ordained 1997
Fr. John Burns ordained 1998

* Mater Dei Folk Group

* A longish road – Crumlin Community Association – Crumlin Festival Committee – Crumlin Development Association. Crumlin Community Forum.

The Crumlin Community Association was formed in the mid 1970’s. Founders included John Close, Roy Wilson, Jimmy Walsh and Davy Price.

* The history of St. James’, Alder grove (extracts from the history written by Fr. Patrick White for the bicentenary celebrations in 1989).

* The Altar Society St James’ Church Aldergrove. Formed about 1950. Includes an article re Christmas in St. James’ in 1920 a personal account by Father P. White written for the bicentenary celebrations of 1989. Many names are mentioned in the article.

* The fire at St. James and the dedication. On the early hours of July 2nd 1998 a few was set in the sacristy of the church.

To mark the reopening and rededication of the church a brass plaque with the following inscription was installed in the entrance porch. The text reads as follows:

The earliest church on this site was built between 1778 and 1783. It was replaced by the present building in 1816. After extensive renovation and refurbishment following a fire in July 1998, St. James’ was solemnly dedicated by Most Rev. Patrick Walsh on 26th March 2000.

* St. James’ Ministers of the Word.

* Sacred Heart Confraternity.

* Langford Bowling Club – formed in 1995.

* Catholics Caring Scheme.

* Baptisms Jubilee 2000 – names of those baptised during this year.

* Memories of Rome – Fr. John Burns – October 1st 1994.

* Irish dancing in Crumlin – The Crawford School of Irish Dancing – established in 1994.

* Ministers of the Eucharist.

* Killultagh Historical Society – a cross community society which has been in existence for over twenty years (2000). The Society meets each month in the Crumlin Community Centre on the last Thursday of every onth from September through to April (except December). An invited guest speaks at the meetings. The meetings usually commence at 8pm.

* Crumlin United Football Team – founded in 1968 as the natural development of the football team which represented the Ulster Woollen Mills Company in the town. Includes a photograph of the first Crumlin United Team (1968).

* The Old School Players Community Dramatic Society – formed in 1995 – 1996 with members from both the Crumlin and Glenavy areas.

* Dr. J.P. Gallagher – he commenced work in Glenavy on 3rd March 1950. An article by Dr. Owen Gallagher.

* Weddings Jubilee 2000 – list of weddings during the year and those who celebrated their Silver Wedding Anniversaries.

* St. Clare’s Bowling Club – formed in November 1986.

* The Circle of Life – junior folk group.

* Servite Secular Order Our Lady of Tears Chapter – this is a group of men and women in the parish who are in the Third (Lay or Secular) Order of the Servite Order. They were received into the Third Order on the 6th September 1992 at the Servite Priory at Benburb.

* Crumlin Festival Group – previously known as Crumlin Civic Week formed in 1971.

* Excavations at Bllygortgarve, Crumlin by Declan P Hurl (Environment and Heritage Service – D.O.E.) 2 excavations took place off the Cidercourt Road in Ballygortgarve townland, Crumlin in 1997.

* Glenavy Apostolic Work – The Glenavy Branch was formed in 1957, and the first President was Mary Hughes, Main Street, Glenavy. A Junior Branch was established in St. Aidan’s Secondary School in 1964. It ceased to exist when the school was closed down.

* Ministers of the Word St Joseph’s Glenavy – a parish group that began in the mid 1970s under Father Brendan Mooney C.C.

* Guard of Honour Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament formed on Saturday, December 2nd 1994.

* The History of Crumlin Glen.

* St Clares Parish Hall Committee – established in December 1993.

* The Ordination of Fr. Brian McCann– took place in St Josephs Church, Glenavy on 7th June 1997.

* The painting of St Clare’s Hall – took place on Saturday 16th October 1999.

* Society of St Vincent de Paul Conference at St James.

* Ballymacricket Primary School – first opened in 1937 and had 3 classrooms. In September 1969 a modern extension was opened and the school building then comprised of 6 classrooms, toilet facilities and a hall/ dining room. A temporary mobile classroom was added the following year and in the 1990’s – three additional were acquired.

* Lough Neagh and the "Maid of Antrim" by Jim McGarry. It was built on the Clyde in 1963. It ran for 2 years out of Helensborough up the Gareloch and Holy Lough. It was then called the "Scots Guard". It was brought in 1965 by John Rainey in Larne and operated at Antrim in 1965 and Carrickfergus in 1966. The vessel returned to the Clyde in the winter of 1966 and hauled ashore in McAllister’s Yard at Dumbarton. "George and James McGarry of the long established boat building and Marine Contracts family firm of H. McGarry & Sons, Ardmore boatyard, Crumlin, flew immediately to the Clyde to secure the vessel when she was put up for sale in May 1967 …"

* The Induction of Fr Luke McWilliams as Parish Priest.

* Cissie Brazier – lived in Glenavy Parish since she was 3 years o;d. She married Harry Brazier in 1923.

* Dan and Brigid Trowlen – life long parishioners of Glenavy and Killead. Dan was born on the Garlandstown Road, the 2nd and last child of Robert and Agnes Trowlen. Brigid was born at Feumore, the 11th of 13 children to Thomas and Isobella Cardwell.

* 16th Antrim Scouts Glenavy and Killed – formed in 1982.

* Fiona Diamond – a talented young parishioner. Includes one of her paintings "Powerscourt Waterfall, County Wicklow."

* Glenavy Parent and Toddler Group.

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