The Parochial Hall was the centre of social life in the parish, a venue for music and dancing on a scale not possible in a dwelling house or at a crossroads. The original St Patrick's Hall, of which this building is a copy, was built in 1900 to serve the needs of the Catholic parish of Ballyphilip in Portaferry.
With the majority abolition of the Penal Laws in 1829 and the removal of all religious hindrances, the Catholic Church was able to gradually rebuild itself. From 1850, under the leadership of Cardinal Paul Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin, the Church embarked on a major programme of building churches, convents, schools and hospitals to cater for the needs of the people. This was helped in 1871 by the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland and the abolition of tithes due to it.
Catholic confidence and prosperity gradually increased and by 1900 even the small Portaferry parish could embark on an ambitious building project such as this fine hall. Arising from the Gaelic Revival of the late 19th century, parochial halls were increasingly used as venues for the local feis - competitions in traditional music and dancing and recitations in Irish.
Replica, location of original: Shore Street, Portaferry, County Down
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