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St. Nicholas Parish Church, Dundalk

The Green Church

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St. Nicholas Parish Church

CHY 8100

Email: [email protected]


St. Nicholas Parish Church

(The Green Church)

Church Street




Welcome to the website of St. Nicholas Parish Church of Ireland (Anglican/Episcopalian), which is situated in Dundalk, Co. Louth, and is part of the Diocese of Armagh. The church was built in the 1220s.

Whether you visit us via the medium of the Internet, or perhaps one day in person, you are very welcome as together with us, in our generation, we offer our worship to the God of all generations and of all future hope.

In this website you’ll find a little about who we are, what we believe, the history of our church and news of happenings and events in our community.

"The Green Church" ...A Brief History

St Nicholas Church of Ireland is widely known in North County Louth as “The Green Church” because of its green copper spire. However, it is also possible that the term was used for hundreds of years as the old tower was covered in dense ivy since the middle ages. The original church on this site dates back to 1220 when the DeVeron family moved from Castletown to the shore and built their town on a gravel ridge. The Church itself occupied the highest point of the ridge, about 26 ft above sea level. The spire was added in 1787 and was designed by Frances Johnson who also designed the GPO in Dublin and Townley Hall in Drogheda. Over the years the spire tilted and was struck by lightning in 1932 necessitating it to be reconstructed on a steel structure, replacing the original wooden frame.

Over the decades, the church building had a hard life, some notable milestones include Edward Bruce destroying the entire town in 1315, the church was again destroyed in the 1641 Irish Rebellion and following the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, the church was once again in a very sorry state. Seventeen years later, in 1707, a new more elegant Church was built and this is basically what you see today, albeit with some alterations and additions such as the addition of the porch in 1888. The original clock was fitted in 1844 and replaced some years later.

Amongst the many historic and interesting items to be seen in and around the Green Church, is the beautiful stained-glass east window behind the alter. This is made from Dutch Glass from the 16th and 17th century with the ‘Virgin & Child’ paned dating back to 1400s. Donated by Lord Roden (as in Roden Place), this window is thought to contain most of the Dutch Glass on the island of Ireland. The other plain glass windows of the church are very rare “celtic knot” design from the late 1700s or early 1800s. The splendid Eagle Lectern was donated in 1908 by Rev Hamilton & family and electric lights replaced gas globes in 1933.

Around the walls you will see many memorial tablets, these include one remembering the famous Railway Engineer, James Barton who died in January 1913 at his home at Farndreg House, Dundalk. Amongst his many achievements, he was responsible for the Greenore Railway line and the Boyne Viaduct. The imposing ‘good samaritan’ plaque remembers Dr James Gillichan, who died in 1809 at only 29 years of age but he must have been hugely popular amongst the people of the town as it was they who donated this memorial, the face of the good samaritan being a likeness of Dr Gillichan himself. The flat memorial stone in the porch remembers a husband and wife, she died in 1582 and he in 1655.

Moving outside to the graveyard, there are 336 headstones and three are older than the year 1700. The oldest know headstone is that of Thomas Field who died in 1536 (or Feld, as in Felda area and Gymnasium). The resting place of Sir John Bellew and Dame Isme Neugent is dated 1588 (behind the church chancel), a flat tombstone dated 1634 marks the grave of Mortimore and William Shankey heroically rescued 9 members of a local ship wreck. New grave facilities ceased in 1896.

St Richard of Dundalk (Richard Fizralph) was born in Dundalk shortly before 1300 and went on to be Chancellor of Oxford University and Bishop of Armagh. St Richard is usually remembered at a Church service every year and while it is known that he is buried in the church grounds, the exact location is not.

Agnes Burns, sister of the famous Scottish poet Robbie Burns is remembered in a very fine monument inside the front railings of the church, but her grave is in the south-eastern corner of the graveyard, near the old sexton’s house. 

Most of the people of the region will be familiar with the Green Church, recently

made to look even more splendid with the development of the “St. Nicholas Quarter”

by Dundalk’s Local Authority. However, many may not have yet seen more than the

front gates, wall and railing which have been in place since 1886 and the Church

Open Days provide an opportunity for all to explore this wonderfully historic church

and hear some of the colourful stories of those who lie beneath the headstones

which date from the mid-1700s to the late 19th century. ​ With the assistance of

Peace IV funding, St Nicholas’ Select Vestry have recently developed a new website

www.dundalkchurchyard.ie/church. This website provides interesting local history together with a photographs and detailed

records for those seeking historic and ancestry information at home and overseas.