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Aughawillan Church celebrates 150th anniversary

History book launched

Aughawillan Church celebrates 150th anniversary

St Patrick's Church Aughawillan book

1870-2020: A new book chronicles the history of Aughawillan parish, it's church and people

This weekend the people of Aughawillan will celebrate the 150th anniversary of St Patrick's Church.
The event which had to be cancelled last year and remains low key this year due to Covid restrictions will see a special Sesquicentennial mass celebrated with Monsignor Liam Kelly (native of Aughawillan) and local priests on Sunday, June 6 followed by the launch of the impressive and encapsulating history book of the parish written by Des Quinn.

St Patrick's Church underwent some renovations last year to mark the milestone which included the positioning of a new marble Reredos in the sanctuary, which also serves as a new home for the tabernacle, restoration of beautiful stained glass window depicting St Patrick (pictured on left) and the painting of the interior and exterior of the church. Des Quinn was delighted to say the renovations were funded by parishioners from at home and abroad and will be paid in full by the end of this year. He said the people of Aughawillan are “very generous.”

The 208 page book is an amazing treasure trove of religious, social and chronological history of Aughawillan parish.
The book includes plenty of photographs (228), old and new and will certainly gain more worth as the years go on as an historic resource.

Des Quinn spent most of 2020 researching and writing the book with help from many others.
Aughawillan in the Catholic Parish of Drumreilly Lower along with Corraleehan has been merged with Corlough in Co Cavan previously and is now merged with Ballinamore's Oughteragh.
The oldest surviving church of the old parish is a medieval ruin located on Church Island at Garadice Lake.
The medieval parish church of Drumreilly which included Aughawillan was situated in Cully overlooking Garadice Lake. No ruins survive, however carved stone heads built into the walls of the current Church of Ireland on the same site are indicative of the earlier church.
Larkin's 1818 map confirms a chapel in Aughawillan. Sources show there was an older church (c.1830) on the current site in Aughawillan but a new church was built in 1870.
Des Quinn said the church was built on the townland of Aughawillan and so the school, football club and hall were named after the church. The first baptism was recorded in Drumreilly Lower in 1867.

Aughawillan Church after it was dedicated in October 1952 Picture from Mary Smith

The book uses many sources including the Leitrim Observer and notes dances, bazaars, occasions and the effect of national events on the parish.
There are no known photographs of the interior church prior to 1952, Des Quinn explains “there was a reluctance to take photos inside any church before that.”
The church was renovated in 1952, and a new belfry was constructed. A new community centre was built in 1984 and the church was again renovated in 2000.
Of course Aughawillan men's and ladies' GAA teams get an important mention as well as Aughawillan Drama and other groups.
All the past priests of the parish and all priests and nuns from Aughawillan are pictured. Also interestingly all graves at Aughawillan cemeteries are mapped and listed- a fantastic resource for families.

The book will be available in local shops from next week and can be purchased from Mulvey's in Carrick online as well as instore. The hardback is priced at €15 and the soft cover is €10.
It is a wonderful record of the past 150 years of Aughawillan church, the parish and it's “never say die” people.

Also read: Master plan for Leitrim GAA Club fixtures

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