SAINT MALACHY’S CHURCH ALFRED STREET IN BELFAST – MAY 2015
Earlier in the day I visited St Annes Cathedral and had a bit of an argument when a voluntary contribution [stated on notice at entrance] was in fact an excessive set fee [I think that it was £5.00] and I was a bit annoyed as I was accused, by a very aggressive lady, of entering without paying.
Later in the day When I entered Saint Malachy’s Church I noticed a teacher and her class rehearsing for their first communion so I decided not to disturb them and to leave and return the next day.
As I was walking Russell Street I thought that I heard someone calling me and I turned around to see a priest running to catch up with me. It turned out that it was the Parish Priest and he asked me if I wanted to photograph the interior of the church and I said that I had not to disturb the the teacher and the young girls but he insisted that I must return and photograph his beautiful church.
Saint Malachy’s Church is a Catholic Church in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is located in Alfred Street, a short distance from Belfast City Hall. The Church is the focal point of the local parish community and Saint Malachy’s Parish is one of the 88 parishes in the Diocese of Down and Connor. After Saint Mary’s Church in Chapel Lane and St Patrick’s Church, Belfast in Donegall Street, Saint Malachy’s is the third oldest Catholic Church in the city of Belfast.
In the beginning Saint Malachy’s was administered by the priests of Saint Mary’s Parish until The Parish of Saint Malachy was created in 1866 and Fr Geoffrey Brennan was appointed Administrator. The first Parish Priest of Saint Malachy’s, a post created in 1909, was Fr Daniel McCashin.
The Church was designed by Thomas Jackson of Waterford and it is in the ecclesiastical style of the Tudor period. It is cruciform in shape, 113 feet wide, 52 feet wide and 40 feet high. The original High Altar, Pulpit and Altar Rails were of Irish Oak however they were replaced with marble when the Church was renovated in 1926. All that remains of the original ornaments is the canopy over the pulpit which has been painted white to match the marble of the present altar furnishings. The Sanctuary floor is mosaic, the principal colour being blue. At the foot of the Altar is a pelican, a common Christian symbol of sacrifice.
Saint Malachy’s is, perhaps, best known for its fan vaulted ceiling which is an imitation of the Henry VII Chapel in Westminster Abbey. Sir Charles Brett stated: It is as though a wedding cake has been turned inside out, so creamy, lacy and frothy is the plasterwork. There are two Side Altars in the Church, on either side of the Sanctuary. One is dedicated to Saint Joseph, the other to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Church also has statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Saint Philomena, Saint Malachy himself, and Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, known as “The Ragged Saint” by the people of Belfast and throughout Ireland.