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Ulster Folk & Transport Museum

Parochial house

Ballycultra Town building 36

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This is a replica building. The original parochial house was built in 1845 and demolished in 1994. It stood in Ann Street, Newtownards, next door to the church hall.

The two storey building was built from local Scrabo sandstone with a garden and yard to the back of the house. The house was originally lit by gas. Water was collected from a nearby street pump.

The parochial house was selected by the Museum as it was one of the few surviving available parochial houses in an urban setting sited alongside an associated church building.

Unfortunately the original house was in too poor a condition to be moved so a replica was built. The significant features of the building were incorporated.  The façade, the lower part of the stairs and landing and two downstairs rooms. A front room which served as both a parlour and the priest’s study, and a kitchen and scullery at the back of the house.

The upper floors of the house now form part of student residential accommodation.

The Catholic parish of Newtownards (and Comber) belonged to the Diocese of Down and Connor. It was a large dispersed and fairly poor parish. In Newtownards the parishioners were mostly mill and factory workers.

In 1900, the parish priest was Father Patrick McKenna.  Father George Crolly served from 1903 to 1912. The last priest to live in the house was Father Eamonn O ‘Brien, who was appointed curate of Newtownards and Comber in 1960.

Look out for the collection of ecclesiastical and secular books in the bookcase representing the sort of reading material which would have appealed to a parish priest.