Until the early 1900s, Ballyholme was a small townland set apart from Bangor. By the 1920s and 1930s, the area grew rapidly along with the realisation that a new church was needed to serve families in the area.
The work of the church formally began in 1939, when the Right Reverend J. Irvine Peacocke, D.D., Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, laid the foundation stone of St Columbanus Parish Church, Ballyholme.
The church first opened its doors in 1950.
There have been 3 long-serving rectors
- Jack Mercer from 1955 until his retirement in 1990
- Alan Abernethy from 1990 until 2007 when we was appointed Bishop of Connor
- Simon Doogan from 2008 until the present day.
Fifty years after its founding, Ballyholme Parish celebrated its significant anniversary in style with the opening of a fantastic new Parish Centre. Work on the centre began in February 2006, was completed in a number of months, and formally opened on Sunday 14 May 2006.
10% of all donations received for the building of the Centre were given to our link Diocese of Kajiado in Kenya, from where Bishop Jeremiah joined us to celebrate the opening. The donations contributed towards the building of the Diocesan HQ in Kajiado diocese Kenya.
In 2009 we engaged in a consultation exercise to consider what we might need to do to keep our work and worship relevant in the twenty–first century. A number of key questions were considered about how we might reach out to the wider community, including young people and the elderly, and how we might draw them increasingly into our Parish community.
One of the key questions we considered concerned our church building and how it might need to be enhanced to best serve the needs of the years ahead.
From this the Restoration project was formed to improve our church building to address matters of disability access, health and safety, children’s facilities, seating arrangements and aspects such as the music and audio, all related to our quality of worship.
The church restoration work began in May 2016 and we moved to holding our Sunday Services in St Columbanus College, Ballymaconnell Road, permission having been kindly granted to us by the school.
By November 2016 the work was complete and we moved back in on Advent Sunday.
The Church is architecturally rich, being built from a unique stone taken from Roxborough Castle. The church bell comes from a set cast in 1670. Inside, there is a wonderful collection of stained glass windows representing Irish Saints: Columbanus, Columba, Finnian, Comgall, Gall, Patrick, Brigid and Brendan, and now celebrated in a short book available from the Parish Office.
The Church is usually open each weekday morning. Please feel welcome to come and look at all our stain glass windows. As well as those featuring the Saints listed above, there are several more modern additions to be enjoyed.