ALFRED STREET – RUSSELL STREET IN BELFAST
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 , though it precedes that building by over 60 years. The Church is the focal point of the local parish community, also Saint Malachy’s, one of the 88 parishes in the Diocese of Down and Connor. It is third oldest Catholic Church in the city of Belfast.
In the beginning Saint Malachy’s was served by priests from St Mary’s Church, Belfast until the Parish of Saint Malachy was created in 1866 and Fr Geoffrey Brennan, a native of Kilkenny, was appointed Administrator. The first Parish Priest of Saint Malachy’s, a post created in 1909, was Fr Daniel McCashin.
The area of the city around Saint Malachy’s was dramatically re-developed from the early 1980s. That period of urban planning, and the age of the church itself, led to a deterioration in the condition of the brickwork meaning a full scale Restoration Programme which began in January 2008 and was completed in 2009 at a cost of £3,500,000. The interior of the Church was also restored.
The ornate stencilling around the Sanctuary, painted over in the 1950s, was restored as were the Altar Rails and the intricate mosaic floor. The Solemn Re-Opening and Dedication of the Altar was celebrated on 29 March 2009 by the Bishop of Down and Connor Dr Noel Treanor in the presence of the Bishop Emeritus Dr Patrick Walsh.
This was the first time that Saint Malachy’s had been closed for an extended period since the Church was opened in 1844. During the Restoration, Nuptial and Requiem Masses were celebrated in neighbouring Churches.