St. Mary's Church, Belfast

St. Mary's Church, Belfast

St. Mary's Church is a Roman Catholic church located in Chapel Lane and Smithfield area of Belfast. It is mother church for the city and a mensal parish. It was opened on this site in 1784. At the time, it was the only Roman Catholic church in the then town of Belfast after the relaxation of some of the Penal Laws. The church grounds contain an undistinguished grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.

In the census of 1782, there were only 365 Catholics recorded living in Belfast. Following a collection from the local Church of Ireland and Presbyterian congregations, funds were donated to the building of St. Mary's Church.

In 1813, the church's pulpit was donated by the Anglican Vicar of Belfast, Canon Turner, continuing the positive relationship between the Roman Catholic church and the local Protestant congregations. Later, in 1815, St. Patrick's Church was built to accommodate the growing Catholic population of the city.

As Belfast's Catholic population grew after the famine, the church was deemed too small and thus architect John O'Neill was contracted to design a church big enough for the burgeoning congregation. In 1868 the church was enlarged and renovated into a new Romanesque style building.

The church holds two masses a day from Sunday - Monday, and three a day on Friday and Saturday. The 6pm Mass on both Friday and Saturday are held in the Irish language.

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St. Mary's Church on Map

Sight Name: St. Mary's Church
Sight Location: Belfast, Ireland (See walking tours in Belfast)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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