Tradition holds that Saint Patrick, enslaved as a youth, was brought to this area and tended herds on Slemish, and that during this time he found God. (However, another theory contends that he spent this period in the west of Ireland).
The Parish of Skerry & Rathcavan was at one time in the patronage of the Marquis of Donegal. The parish is titled Skerry, Rathcavan and Newtowncrommellin. St. Patrick’s Church, Broughshane (Shane’s town) was erected by Charles O’Neill of Shane’s Castle in 1765.
Situated in the Braid Valley in the shadow of Slemish, tradition ascribes the foundation of the Church to St.Patrick. The Church was enlarged in 1829, and in 1859 a chancel, transept and vestry were added.
Extensive repair work to the tower, roof and windows was completed in January 2006; a new lighting system was also installed. The Church contains many beautiful stained glass windows. Dr David Lawrence carried out a survey on 19.03.2013 and the results may be found on www.gloine.ie.
The East window was erected by friends of The Rev WC Crawford to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of his ministry in 1865. The Rev Canon Dr. John Grainger was rector of the parish 1869-91 and was later regarded as ‘the Father of the Ulster Museum’. He is buried in the graveyard and a replica of the Monasterboice Cross marks his grave. You can find more information on the Ulster Museum web pages the route is Ulster Museum/Collections/Collection Highlights Tour or http://nmni.com/um/Collections/Collections-highlights/Canon-John-Grainger.
The church has a lychgate at the front entrance and at the rear. Broughshane is a rapidly growing area with new housing developments and the opportunity to welcome new families. Our past enables us to value the present and look to the future with confidence, just pride and profound thankfulness to Almighty God as we serve Him and his people in the 21st century.
St. Patrick’s celebrated its 250th Anniversary beginning on Advent Sunday (2014) the beginning of the new Christian year with a Christmas Tree Festival and Christingle, and concluded with “Christ the Light in the Community” (2015). The Parish celebrated with events – through Worship in our Parish Church, as a Parish family, as a Community and as part of a global Community.