Worship and Worshippers in Cushendun

10 July 2010

The recently-renovated Catholic parish church, St Patrick’s, is not only the oldest in Cushendun, but is thought to be the only church in the Diocese of Down and Connor to occupy the site of an ancient church. It is located about a mile and a half from the village in a place of considerable beauty and tranquillity: the river flows directly behind it and the calm hills of Glendun form its backdrop.

Built between 1804 and 1814, it was enlarged in 1840 and replaced by the present church in 1865. It is a ‘hall’ church with sandstone quoins and window-surrounds, its altar featuring a striking carving of St Malachy, attended by St Bernard, on his deathbed in Clairvaux.

Just up the road from the church and at the threshold of Craigagh Wood is a Mass-rock dating from penal times, where Mass is still celebrated yearly on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Across the road from the church is the ‘gloonan’stone, where St Patrick is thought to have prayed.

The Presbyterian church at Mullarts, Castle Green, was built by Rev. Gillis and opened in 1849 by the famous Dr Cooke.
The manse, a gracious post-Georgian house, dates from 1852. The church building, used regularly for worship only until 1900, has undergone interior conversion to provide residential accommodation.

On the hill of Sleans, above the hotel, lie the intriguing and atmospheric ruins inscribed with the words ‘Cushendun Congregational Church.’ This church was built for his own use by Nicholas de Lacherois Crommelin (Senior) of Cave House. The term ‘congregational’ remains something of a puzzle, and there is speculation that this may have been a Moravian settlement. Although the church seems quickly to have fallen into disuse, the ruins form an arresting edifice which continues to dominate the skyline on the south side of the river, close to the sea.