St. Colemans, Roman Catholic Graveyard Lurgan, Co. Armagh


 By Frank McCorry

The Parish of Shankill and the Parish of Seagoe occupy a considerable portion of the southern shore of Lough Neagh. Until the formation of the modern Parish of Moyraverty, Shankill and Seagoe were the only parishes of the Dromore Diocese located in County Armagh. Until c.1750, Seagoe was considered the more important of the two under Catholic aegis.

The origin of the Parish of Shankill is by no means as clear-cut in historical documents as might be assumed. That there was a pre-Reformation church in Shankill townland not far distant from the heart of Lurgan town, is affirmed by its inclusion in the Plantation maps of 1609. Therefore, the subsequent foundation of Lurgan town by the incoming colonists, the Brownlow's, undoubtedly gave Shankill its prominence. Yet, one hundred years later, at the Registration of Catholic Priests at Lurgan courthouse, on July 10th 1704, no priest came forward to represent Shankill. The Reverend John Byrne, parish priest of Seagoe, represented both parishes.

There were other church-sites close-at-hand which may have been as worthy of parish status as Shankill. In 1440, the income from Seagoe Parish was so small that it could not support a parish priest, so it was united to neighbouring Enachloisgy or Annaloiste, lying on the very shore of the great lough. Fifty years later, in 1492, further consolidation of northern parishes was approved and Kylilan, Tayagoba and Acadle were united. These three names are generally perceived as Shankill, Seagoe and Aghalee respectively. Additional licence is assumed by taking Kylmilan, Kilwilke and Shankill as referring to the same entity, an assumption which few really believe. The late Dean Bernard Mooney was in no doubt that the Church of Annaloiste was Kilwilke, derived from Kylmilcon and associated with an early saint named Micho or Milchu.

(Info sourced from Parish website)

St. Colemans, Roman Catholic Graveyard Lurgan, Co. Armagh