Is the Church of Ireland parish of Kells an entrenched minority or a contributing group within the community?

Kells in County Meath is synonymous with three high crosses, the Book of Kells and its links with Saint Columba and the early Irish church. 'Signal', a series on religious matters, visits the Church of Ireland parish of Kells to find out whether it's parishioners form a separate community or whether they are integrated within the wider community.

The next generation of Church of Ireland parishioners attend the church primary school in Kells, a two-teacher school attended by 56 pupils. The parish has spent £2,000 on improvements to the school. A new extension is being built and plans for another extension to ensure the children can be taught under one roof, are with the Department of Education. The younger children are currently schooled in the parochial hall.

On the outskirts of the village of Kells lies the Headfort School, a preparatory boarding school founded in 1949 by Lord and Lady Headfort. During term time, Protestant pupils from the school swell the morning service congregation on a Sunday morning.

The Church of Ireland Parish has its own Social Club which meets once a week and holds a table tennis league.

These are all ways in which the protestant community express their individuality, their differences from many of their neighbours but their lives are certainly not dominated by the idea of a separate community.

One parishioner thinks,


Certain people round here that would prefer to be in their own little community more than mixing with the others.

However, the general consensus is the Church of Ireland community of Kells feel integrated and not separate in any way.

We mix very much together I would say 50% of my friends are Roman Catholics.

This episode of ‘Signal’ was broadcast on 21 April 1968. The producer is Michael Johnston.