Landmark church is 50 years old this weekend

A special anniversary in Creeslough

St Michael's church anniversary

St Michael's Church in Creeslough

It’s one of the most iconic churches in Donegal, designed to reflect the beautiful Muckish Mountain close by.
This coming Sunday, August 15, on the Feast of the Assumption, parishioners will offer a prayer of thanks to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the official opening of the St. Michael’s Church in Creeslough.
Back in August 1971, the new church, designed by the renowned Irish architect Liam McCormick, replaced the church in Doe.
It was opened by Most Rev. Dr. Anthony Mc Feely on a day of much celebration for the parish and surrounding areas.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, it has been decided to postpone any anniversary celebrations until next year.
However, it still promises to be a special weekend in the church with children from the local schools making their First Holy Communion on Sunday - on the 50th anniversary of the church's opening.
The celebrations in 1971 are still fresh in the memories of many local people and details of those involved in the works make interesting reading.
The builder was John Hegarty; Clerk of Works was Cathal Boyd from Toomebridge; Foreman was John McLaughlin from Fahan, Art Works were by Helen Moloney, Veronica Rowe, John Behan and Ruth Brandt.
The new building replaced the Church in Doe which was built by Father Bernard Rodan, a native of the parish, in 1784 and rebuilt by Father Peter Gallagher in 1830.
The site was said to have been purchased by Father Ennis Mc Bride who died in 1794 and is buried in Clondahorkey graveyard.
Another story is that the priest was a Franciscan, Father Dominic Curden, who died in 1809 and is buried at Doe Castle. He asked the Landlord, William Wray of Ards, to grant a site for the chapel. Father Dominic was a cousin of Father Rodan.
Until then, people had to attend Mass at various Mass Rocks – Cashelmore, Creenera, Carnamaddy, Creeslough, Kilmacloo, Gortnalake and Sandhill.
The new church was built near to and in sight of the Mass Rock at Cashelmore. Doe still remains a hallowed place. The lives of the parishioners of two centuries were involved in Doe.
There are many happy memories with Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, weddings and sadness when a loved one was buried outside its walls.
Then, on August 15, 1971 the new St. Michael’s Church was opened and blessed. At the time, it was sad to see the end of Doe, but there were special celebrations for the new St. Michael’s.
Tea, cakes and sandwiches were laid on for everyone thanks to the late Mrs. Mona Gibbons and her ‘staff’ of 20 helpers.
Her brother, Father John Silke, was involved in the church opening that day.

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