St. Patrick’s Church, Castledawson
McGurk Architects’ 1997 competition-winning design for St. Patrick’s Church was built to give the Catholic population of Castledawson its own place of worship, having previously, for the most part, attended services at St. John’s, Milltown, since 1970. The completed church was officially blessed and dedicated by his Eminence Cardinal Brady on 6th May 2001.
This contemporary church was designed in accordance with the latest Vatican doctrine on places of worship, while incorporating some traditional church design elements. Square in plan and robust in appearance, the church’s perimeter walls, roofed in natural slate, are constructed in blockwork, cladded with basalt stone with cut sandstone window surrounds. Three circular brick and copper roofed drums protrude from the square, which was rotated at 45 degrees relative to the site’s New Row boundary. This alignment allowed for the traditional church orientations of the altar located in the west and the entrance in the east to be facilitated.
The church seats four hundred people with no member of the congregation further than fifteen metres from the celebration in a circular seating arrangement. The central processional aisle is naturally lit by a patent glazed roof-light across the entire nave and there are two subservient side aisles. Both the chancel and the nave are described as circular forms at either end of the central aisle.
The building’s main features include the frameless glass tower over the sanctuary and cable-wired suspended crucifix, roof lighting over the nave, stained glass windows, white oak timber seating and ash ceiling, McGurk Architects designed all the fitted furniture for the church, including the seats, altar furniture and coordinated the Stations of the Cross, which are hung on the church’s rear sweeping curved wall.