St Nicholas' Church
St Nicholas’ Church,
8 Minorca Place,
From Belfast follow M2, M5 and A2 to Davys St in Carrickfergus
Turn left onto Davys St
Continue on Davys St to Minorca Pl
Destination will be on the left (Opposite Tesco Extra)
Short History of Mount St Nicholas, Carrickfergus
The first Catholic church to be built in the Minorca area of Carrickfergus was in 1826, although it appears the church replaced an ‘old Mass house’ which was known to be there in 1812. St Nicholas’ Church was consecrated on Saturday 8th October 1826 by the then Bishop of Down and Connor , the Right Reverend Doctor Crolly. The church was extended in 1950, a Sanctuary and Sacristy being added.
In 1840 , St Columcille’s Church was erected at Bryantang , Commons, Carrickfergus. It was built in a field bequeathed for that purpose and donated by Hugh Mulholland. The church was dedicated on August 9th of that year by the then Bishop of Down and Connor, Doctor Denvir. From its opening in 1840 until 1885, this little church served Catholics residing in the hills above Carrickfergus.
When the Woodburn reservoirs were being constructed during the period 1865-74, there were many Catholic employees engaged in the work and the Sunday Masses were very well attended. The church was closed around 1885 and was reopened in 1916 by Father George McKay who was the then Parish Priest in Carrickfergus. The Church was closed in 1987 and was eventually demolished in that year.
In 1981 , a new Church was built to replace the Church built in 1926 which was now too small. The new Church was blessed and dedicated by Bishop Philbin on Sunday April 26th 1981. The former Church was then used as a Parish hall.
On April 26th 1997, the new St Nicholas’ Church was destroyed in an arson attack. Mass that evening was held in the parish hall and some members of the Protestant community joined the parishioners at the Mass to show solidarity. Their presence was greatly appreciated. Masses continued to be held in the Parish hall until a new Church was built to replace the old one destroyed by fire.
The present Church was opened on Sunday December 3rd 2000. The late Father Michael Cosgrove was Parish Priest at that time and the Church was blessed and dedicated by Bishop Walsh. Invited guests at the church included Alderman Sean Neeson accompanied by some members of Carrickfergus Council . Mr Neeson was later (2003) elected Mayor of Carrickfergus.
In 2014, Father Peter Owens was installed as Parish Priest of Carrickfergus and Whitehead. As well as Father’s parochial duties, he is the Diocesan Episcopal Vicar for safeguarding, the work of which is very time consuming. The ‘new’ Church is a very bright, beautiful building containing many artefacts .On entering the main church , the eye is drawn to the San Damiano Cross which hangs above the Tabernacle. The cross has a connection to St Francis and originated in Italy. The cross was kindly gifted to the church by a parishioner. There are now many groups and committees in the parish, namely the Parish Pastoral Council, the Liturgy group, the Parish Safeguarding Committee, the cell groups, St Vincent de Paul Society , the Bethany group and the Finance Committee.