Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic church was opened on December 8th 1961, on the site of the former Church of Ireland Protestant church. This site was given by the Church of Ireland to the Roman Catholic community of Silvermines on a date unknown. The original church was torn down. The stones were deposited in heaps around the mine work sites at nearby Ballygowan. Their locations are no longer known.

Our Lady of Lourdes Church is a detached, cruciform-plan, gable-fronted church. It contains traditional elements such as transepts, belfry, apse, and nave but all articulated in a frank modern manner, using materials and the clarity of line and simplicity of form typical of twentieth-century architecture.

The church has an added interest in that it was built before Vatican II, so that while the structure is evidently modernist, aspects of the decoration on the interior reflect the ethos of the Roman Catholic Church before the changes brought about by Vatican II.

The map on the reverse of the sign is from the 1840 Ordnance survey. It shows this area with the Church of Ireland marked ‘Church’ occupying this site. The Roman Catholic Church is marked ‘R.C. Chapel’, and is located at the site now occupied by the Cuan Mhuire Meditation Garden. This beautiful, tranquil garden was constructed following the demolition of the original chapel in 1972. It is maintained by the local community and has hedges planted to mark out the floor plan of the former chapel.

Source/ Local conversations & internet

Artwork/ Fiona Woods


Top left – former Church of Ireland Protestant Church, Cloonanagh, Silvermines c. 1890 (image lent by Pat Keane); Top right – Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church, circa 1980’s (image lent by Michael O’ Brien).

Bottom left – Cuan Mhuire Meditation Garden, site of former R.C. Chapel, Bottom right – photo of former R.C. Chapel, located in Cuan Mhuire Meditation Garden.

Silvermine Images


Detail – 1840 Ordnance Survey map.

Silvermine Images