St. Patrick’s Parochial Hall
In 1899 the Very Reverend Hugh Magorrian, Parish Priest of Ballyphilip, acquired this site from Colonel Nugent of Portaferry. In the next two years a church-like building with a tall castellated tower was built to serve as a parochial hall. Although it was officially opened in 1903, it was in use from 1901.
Arising from the Gaelic Revival of the late 19th century, parochial halls were increasingly used as venues for the local feis - competitions in traditional music and dancing and recitations in Irish. Dances were frequently held too and it was not unusual to have 350 attend. St. Patrick’s Hall was also the venue for Irishdancingclasses,playsandtravellingshows. Thelocaldramagroup,in the hometown of the writer and actor, Joseph Tomelty, was extremely active here. Billiards became very popular when a full size billiard table was donated to the hall by the McCauslands who ran a ship salvage business nearby.
A Penny Bank flourished here from 1910 – 1928 and from 1929 the downstairs was used as a girls’ school.
For half a century this hall was the heart of the parish.
Money for building works was raised from local households and fundraising events. Localpeoplewereinvolvedinthebuilding of the Hall. The stonemason was John Dorrian and the carpenter was Tommy Gilmore.
A replica of this hall can be seen at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra.