St Columbanus Church
ST COLUMBANUS PARISH CHURCH AT BALLIVOR.
In medieval times Ballivor was a very different place to what it is to-day and the parish was known as Killaconnigan. It is not clear if there was a regular site of worship in the parish at that time. About 1793, Fr Laurence Shaw, who was attached to the friary at Donore, built a small thatched chapel about 50 perches (i.e. about 300 meters) from Ballivor (as it is to-day). This site would have been near the junction of the Muchwood road and the Kinnegad road. He used this chapel until he built another, in the village in 1821 on land donated by the Earl of Darnley. Fr Shaw was the last Dominican to live in the area and died in 1833. (see Fenning, 1962).
Initially the Chapel had a clay floor and no seats. Fr Patrick Curry, the curate from 1867 to 1869, paved the floor and installed seats.
Father Patrick Farrell, who was parish priest from 1908 to 1950 substantially renovated the church in 1920-1921 and dedicated it to St Columbanus.
Fr William Kiernan who succeeded Fr Farrell as Parish Priest (1950-1972) carried out further renovations to the Church. Wooden steps to the alter were replaced by marble steps and a central marble tabernacle was erected on the high altar.
New stained glass windows replaced those installed in 1920. The large window behind the altar depicting the crucifixion which we see today was donated by Dr Sean Coughlan in memory of his wife Lily (and cost £2,000 at that time). Nine other stained glass windows on the ground floor also replaced those installed in 1920. These depict St Philomena, St Joseph, St Maria Goretti, St Patrick, St Therese, St Pious X, St Brigid, St Columbanus and the Immaculate Conception. These are recorded as costing £100 each (see Curran 1995) and were donated by parishioners. There are also two stained glass windows on the gallery depicting St Jude and the Holy Infant of Prague.
In order to comply with changes to the liturgy the altar was separate from the wall in 1971.
Fr Sean Kenny (Parish Priest from 1972 to 1977) had a Reiger organ installed.
Further modernisation, including housing the Church Bell was carried out in 1992-1993 by Fr Matthew Mollin (Parish Priest from 1988 to 2004).
Modification to the outbuildings around St Columbanus’s including creation of a car park in 2009 was carried out by Fr Oliver Devine (Parish Priest from 2004 to the present) assisted by the parish finance committee.
Curran, O.C. (1995). History of the Diocese of Meath, 1860-1993, Vo 1, Chapter 6. Ballivor. Pages 132- 141. Ed. Olive C. Curran. Published by Reverend Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath.
Fenning, H. (1962). The Dominicans of Trim 1713-1833. Riocht na Midhe, Vol 11, 4; P 21- 32;