Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Saint Lugadius Church - Joe Mc Cormick

The first mention of a church in the Clonleigh area was one built by Saint Columba about one mile north of Lifford on a hill called Cluicin-leagh from whence Clonleigh derives its name. Columba placed it under one of his missionaries by the name of Saint Lugadius. He was one of the twelve who accompanied Columba to the Isle of Iona. The church of learning was dissolved in the mid 1500's during the reign of the young Edward VI.

Lifford was without a church for the best part of 100 years until Sir Richard Hansard left instructions in his will for the provisions of a church and school. The church and school were duly built and the church was named Saint Lugadius. It was of the reformed faith, and was completed in 1621 with a thatched roof. Some time later a tower was added to it.

In 1863 the church was closed for repairs and enlargement to accommodate the Donegal Militia who were stationed in Lifford. During it's time of closure subscriptions were started to provide some improvements. During the enlargement damage caused to the memorial of Sir Richard Hansard and his wife in 1989 was made good by a Mr Kell and a Mr Shannon, both from Lifford. The said memorial is one of Sir Richard and his wife kneeling pray-fully facing each other. The church was reopened in 1864 for divine by the Bishop of Derry and has continued ever since.

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