Cathal O'Shannon visits Malahide to learn about the history of its unique Presbyterian community.

Malahide in north county Dublin is noted for its historical associations and most famously as the home of the Talbot's of Malahide Castle. It also has its literary associations. The book 'West Briton' written by Brian Inglis paints a picture of Malahide in the 20th century, a picture noted for its British associations,

Like some sort of outpost to the Empire.

Evidence of this association could be found in the religious hierarchy where Catholics were not allowed to join the nearby 'Island Golf Club'. According to Inglis the so-called 'In-Denomination' was the Church of Ireland but it is unclear where the Presbyterians stood in this social hierarchy.

The first Presbyterian community in Malahide was largely made up of "Scottish herring women", who spent three or four months each year gutting herring. Other Presbyterians worked as servants in Malahide Castle and some ran their own businesses. Whatever their social ranking, there was the core of a Presbyterian community. They came together to worship in a house known as 'Casino' and later Mr James Dickie bought number 3 Killeeen Terrace where worship took place in the drawing rooms each week.

By 1956 the number of Presbyterian families in Malahide had increased and as a community they decided to acquire a church. On 25 November 1956 the building of the Malahide Presbyterian Church was completed at a cost of £9,400, largely funded by the community. The church and crèche were designed by a member of the congregation Mr William Beare and the stained glass window commemorates Mr Dickie, the founder of the Malahide congregation.

At a time when the Church of Ireland was disposing of many of its buildings, it was unusual to see the completion of a new church which was not a Catholic church.

Malahide is the first Presbyterian church built in the Republic this century.

Malahide Presbyterian Church (1966)
Malahide Presbyterian Church (1966)

On 25 November 1966 the Malahide congregation held a ten year anniversary celebration. 1966 also marked the year of the Presbyterian Church's extension fund appeal.

This episode of 'Newsbeat' was broadcast on 25 November 1966. The presenter is Cathal O'Shannon.