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10.30 am Welcome by Rector
10.40 am Works undertaken to Magheralin Church
funded by the National Churches Trust
Project Architect - Des Cairns
11.00 am Representatives of the National Churches Trust
12.00 noon Government assistance with caring for Places of Worship
Manus Deery, Assistant Director NI Environment Agency
12.20 pm Q&A
12.40 pm Sandwich lunch in Church hall

Cost per person including lunch £10
To register for the event please contact:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Tel: 079 7953 0379
For further information visit our website :

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Churches Walking Tour of Enniskillen

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Around 30 people met at Darling Street Methodist Church for the first visit of the UHCT Churches Walking Tour of Enniskillen on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.  The church had very kindly laid on refreshments which were particularly welcome to those travelling from further afield.  Once we were all settled, the Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, Mr Bert Johnston, welcomed us all to the town.  This year the tour was lead by Caroline Maguire, a Senior Conservation Architect from NIEA, who stepped in at the last minute to replace Manus Deery, our usual guide, who was recovering from surgery.

Caroline gave a potted history of the church and local tour guide, Catherine Scott, ably assisted her in bringing the history of the area to life.  Following a chance to walk around the church, we visited the impressive hall to the rear and then walked next door to St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church.  Unbelievably there was a funeral in both the RC church and St Macartin's Cathedral that afternoon so whilst we waited for St Michael's to clear of mourners, we stood out in the afternoon sunshine and Caroline and Catherine showed us the massive flying buttresses which had been built in 1921 to support the west wall.  We were then treated to a visit to the sacristy at the rear of the church before walking round back into Darling Street to access the main church.

One of the nicest things about this walking tour was the close proximity of all the churches.  After our visit to St. Michael's which was next door to the Methodist Church, we only had to cross the road to visit St Macartin's Cathedral. Unlike the other two churches which sit directly on the footpath, St. Marcartin's is angled on the slightly elevated site with a path leading from the footpath up to the entrance. After a welcome by the Rev Rob Clements, on behalf of the rector, the Very Rev. Kenneth R. J. Hall, once again Caroline and Catherine explained about the origins and architecture of this lovely church, pointing out the many artefacts linking the church, town and the Inniskilling Regiments.  There was much discussion about the positioning of the older church and how it might have been incorporated into the church we could see today.

From the west end of the town, we walked along the main street to Scots Presbyterian Church to see the recent renovation works and new hall extension which had recently been completed. The minister Rev. David  Cupples welcomed us to the church and pointed out some of the interesting historic plaques in the church as well as the more recent alterations. Of interest was the magnificent stained glass window behind the pulpit which commemorated the First World War - particularly because of the centenary this year.

Scots Presbyterian Church provided very much appreciated refreshments in the new hall complex to the rear which gave magnificent views out over the river.  After everyone had been replenished with tea and cake, Caroline took to the floor for the last time to give the usual and very interesting talk on church maintenance.  To round off the day, those who were left and had time were invited to visit the Convent Chapel where the beautiful stained glass was designed by the Harry Clarke Studio.

Once again, this delightful afternoon gave us the opportunity to learn a little more about the churches in our province and the lovely weather set all the buildings off to their best advantage.

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Wednesday 24 September 2014     

The Ulster Historic Churches Trust which was founded in 1995 and exists to promote best practice in Church maintenance has run several seminars and conferences over many years. It also organised with UTV and the NIEA the very successful Church Maintenance award scheme of 2006. To date it has organised walking tours in Cookstown, Newtownards, Portadown and Derry/Londonderry.  2012 saw a major publication ‘New Life for Churches in Ireland-Good Practice in Conversion and Reuse’.   

This latest event run in collaboration with Enniskillen Churches involves a tour of local churches, designed to appreciate the rich legacy of the town’s fine ecclesiastical heritage, followed by an informative talk aimed at how best to maintain these buildings for future generations.  

We hope that Glebe Wardens, Vergers, Sextons and Property Stewards will find this particularly helpful.  

You are warmly invited to join us for this event.  

The walking tour includes the following churches: Darling St Methodist Church, St Michael’s Catholic Church, St Macartin’s Cathedral and Scots Presbyterian Church    


2.30 pm Walking Tour begins at Darling Street. Welcome to UHCT by Chairman of  Fermanagh District Council.   

3.15 pm St Michael’s Catholic Church  

3.45 pm St Macartin’s Church of Ireland Cathedral  

4.30 pm Scots Presbyterian Church  

5.00 pm Refreshments (Bridge Centre)  

5.45 pm Address by Manus Deery, Assistant Director, NIEA   

(If you are unable to join us for the whole walkabout, then please feel free to join us at whatever point is convenient for you. If you are solely interested in the talk on church maintenance issues, you are welcome at the Bridge Centre, Scots Presbyterian Church, Church Street from 5.00pm)  

Publications relevant to church maintenance will be available for sale  


For further information about this event contact:  

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    or Tel: 079 7953 0379  

or visit our website:       

Parking: There are several Pay and Display car parks along Wellington Road and on-street parking is also available. 

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Should Churches be Converted?

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A debate & discussion in

St Thomas’s Church, Lisburn Road, Belfast,

on Thursday 30 January 2014 at 7.30pm


The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society invites members and non-members to participate in a discussion on whether or not it is right to convert redundant churches to new uses.


In November 2012 the Ulster Historic Churches Trust (UHCT) published New Life for Churches in Ireland – good practice in conversion and reuse. In the Preface the Chairman of the Trust, Primrose Wilson, stated that ‘Ireland’s ecclesiastical buildings are part of the backdrop and fabric of our lives….. Fortunately the majority of our churches remain in use as places of worship and are well-loved and respected in their communities.’ However when a place of worship becomes redundant it can be demolished (if it is not listed) or become a decaying object of pity.  Converting it to a new use may well breathe new life into the community of which it forms a part or it is better if it disappears altogether? The Trust hoped that its publication will raise awareness of the issues and stimulate further debate and discussion and this event in St Thomas’s forms a part of this dialogue. Copies of New Life for Churches in Ireland can be purchased on line at and will be for sale on 30 January.


The Society is delighted that the Venerable Dr Stephen McBride, Archdeacon of Connor, will act as Chairman for the evening. In order to set the scene Primrose Wilson will explain the rationale behind the publication. Then Dr Paul Harron, Editor and author, will outline the successful conversion of the former Fransiscan Church in Drogheda. Visited by UAHS members in 2013 it has become the Highlanes Gallery and is well used by the local community. Afterwards Nathan Armstrong who was the architect for the conversion of Tattykeeran Church, near Brookeborough, Co.Fermanagh, runner-up in the 2012 BBC Northern Ireland House of the Year programme, will present his project. Then the floor will be open for discussion and debate.


St Thomas’s Church was designed by John Lanyon and consecrated in 1870. It is located at the junction of Lisburn Road and Eglantine Avenue. In 2008 major renovations were carried out and it is now frequently used for a variety of community uses as well as being a place of worship. The Society is grateful to the Rector and Select Vestry for the use of the building for this event. The cost of the event, which includes a glass of wine, is £10 per person. Closing date for applications is 27th January 2014.



Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

Application to attend the discussion ‘Should Churches be Converted?’


To: The Administrator, UAHS, 66 Donegall Pass, Belfast BT7 1BU


NAME(S)____________________________ Tel No.______________ EMAIL___________________


ADDRESS:____________________________________________ POST CODE__________________


I enclose cash/cheque made payable to the UAHS for £10.00 per person


Visa/MasterCard No:___________________________ Expiry Date_____________ 3digit code_____         


Signature __________________(Please note your financial details will not be retained on file)







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Walking Tour of Derry's Churches

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We left a rainy Belfast equipped with umbrellas and wet weather gear only to arrive in Derry to bright skies and sunshine!  Led by Manus Deery, Assistant Director of NIEA, we started our tour at Carlisle Road Methodist Church just outside Derry’s Walls, where we were welcomed by the minister, the Rev Louise Donald and the Mayor of Derry, Martin Reilly.  A large imposing Gothic style building set right on the footpath with flying buttresses, steeply pitched slated roof and polygonal baptistery, the interior was a revelation.  Beautifully carved timber pews, pulpit and gallery shone deeply against the pale upper walls.  The Art Nouveau-style stained glass windows allowed the building to be flooded with light and the acoustics, thanks to the skill of the architect, Albert Forman, are second to none.

From Carlisle Road, we walked up on to the Walls and round to the imposing St Columb’s Cathedral sited at the highest point of the city.  After a talk on the history and the architectural development of the cathedral by Manus Deery we were joined by the Dean, The Very Rev'd William W Morton, who welcomed us to the building.  On display were the Promise Chalice, the Bishop’s Chair and a pair of beautiful silver tankards as well as the many monuments and flags. 

Leaving the Cathedral we passed out of the Walls, this time using the Bishop’s Gate on our way to the Long Tower Church. Manus, again gave an excellent talk on the development of the site from earliest times and a member of the congregation was on hand to complete the story.  The large T shaped plan has an ornate neo-Renaissance style interior with paired marble columns, three sets of the Stations of the Cross and a rare glass mosaic ‘opus sectile’ behind the altar which remains, together with the altar rails, in its original position.  After viewing the restoration of the former school building to the rear of the church, which will become the St Columba’s Heritage Centre, we returned to the Walled City, walking along the west wall to St Augustine’s Church of Ireland.

Originally built as a Chapel of Ease, St. Augustine’s is located on the original Abbey site.  It was built to the designs of J G Ferguson – a three-bay gabled diminutive Gothic church with bell cote and hammer beam roof.  Here we were welcomed by Hazel Philson, author of ‘The Little Church on the Walls’, who gave a brief talk on the fifteen hundred years history of the site. 

As the afternoon became colder, we walked farther down the walls to the newly restored First Derry Presbyterian Church, the final building on our tour.  One of the Elders of the church welcomed us into the warmth of the church before giving a presentation on the recent repair scheme.  From a building with major structural problems, a fire and then being closed for eight years, the church raised sufficient funding to allow a complete renovation and re-opened for worship in May 2011.  After a tour of the Blue Coat School Visitor Centre, the church provided very welcome refreshments before Manus concluded the day with a very interesting and informative talk on church maintenance.


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