Parish News

  • Handel’s Messiah

    Click Register on this link for tickets for St Muredach’s Cathedral Choir’s spectacular performance of Handel’s “Messiah” this November 11 2023.

    The performance is part of the Ballina 2023 celebrations and is the first time Handel’s “Messiah” will be performed in full in Ballina and the first time an entire oratorio will be performed in the town.

    Anticipation is building for the once-in-a-lifetime performance in St Muredach’s Cathedral, Ballina on Saturday, November 11 by the renowned St. Muredach’s Cathedral Choir of Handel’s ‘Messiah’. Under the direction of choral director Regina Deacy, and part of the Ballina 2023 celebrations, the performance will be accompanied by the Irish Choral Sinfonia Orchestra, and will mark the first time Handel’s Messiah has been performed in full in Ballina. St Muredach’s Cathedral choir are delighted to be joined by some members of Cór Mhaigh Eo, a Mayo-wide mixed voice choir directed by Dr Brian Lennon. The soloists for this performance are Rachel Croash (soprano), Ann Marie Gibbons (alto), David Lynn (Tenor) and Rory Musgrave (bass).  Tickets are expected to sell out quickly.

    Director of St Muredach’s Cathedral Choir Regina Deacy said: We have always enjoyed singing the much loved ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ from ‘Messiah’ at Easter ceremonies in the cathedral and in concerts down through the years in the town and we felt it was time to explore and learn more excerpts from this choral masterpiece! Combined with professional soloists, the Irish Choral Sinfonia orchestra, and members of Cór Mhaigh Eo, we are excited to present this work in the magnificent building of St Muredach’s, and delighted that it coincides with the 300th birth of Ballina.

    Director with Ballina 2023, Annette Maughan said: “2023 has been a celebration of Ballina’s establishment 300 years ago, and Handel’s incredible oratorio is also almost 300 years old. Less than 20 years after Ballina was established, Handel was writing this body of work which premiered in Ireland. Ballina is so renowned for its choral talent, and we are thrilled to have the prestigious St Muredach’s Cathedral Choir performing this seminal work as part of our calendar of events.
    Ballina 2023 also places a strong focus on legacy, and the proceeds of this unforgettable night will help to secure the future of one of St Muredach’s Cathedral’s finest features, its incredible stained glass windows, for future generations.”

    Tickets for the St Muredach’s Cathedral Choir’s Production of Handel’s ‘Messiah’, priced at €27.50, are now available from the Ballina Parish Office. Call 096 70555 or online here (click Register on Payzone website for tickets).

    Proceeds will go towards the restoration and conservation of the Cathedral’s stained-glass windows.

    Background to Handel’s Messiah

    Messiah is an English-language oratorio in three parts, composed in 1741 by German-British composer George Frideric Handel and first performed in Fishamble Street Music Hall, Dublin in April 1742. The work was initially modestly received, but in time gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.  While soloists and an orchestra compliment the work, the chorus is at its heart and it is best known for its rousing ‘Hallelujah’ refrain – one of the most famous pieces of Baroque choral music in history. The text was compiled from the King James Bible and the Coverdale Psalter by Charles Jennens and the three parts are drawn from three parts of the Bible – the story of prophecy of and the birth of Christ; that of the crucifixion and redemption of mankind; and a commentary on the redemption of Christian soul.

    St. Muredach’s Cathedral Choir

    St Muredach’s Cathedral Choir has been an institution since the mid- nineteenth century. Its current membership of over forty choristers is a successful blend of experienced and young voices and its repertoire includes liturgical music by Irish and International composers, plainchant and motets. The choir sing at 11am mass every Sunday in St Muredach’s Cathedral as well as at the usual liturgical highpoints in the seasons of the church year. In 2010 the choir provided music for the 6pm mass on the Feast of Christ the King in London’s Westminster Cathedral, In 2012, they led the singing at one of the masses of The Eucharistic Congress in Dublin and in 2014 the choir sang at the Mass of the Vatican Chapter in St Peter’s Basilica, Rome. The choir has also presented many concerts for charitable events in the community.

    Tickets now on sale (click Register on payzone website) for St Muredach’s Cathedral Choir’s spectacular performance of Handel’s “Messiah” this November 11.

  • First Holy Communion / Confirmation 2023

    Please find below the dates for First Holy Communion and Confirmations in 2023.

    First Holy Communion Dates

    Culleens National SchoolSt. Patrick’s Church11am Sat 6 May
    Scoil ÍosaSt. Patrick’s Church1pm Fri 19 May
    Gaelscoil na gCeithre MaolSt. Patrick’s Church11am Sat 13 May
    Breaffy National SchoolSt. Muredach’s Cathedral11am Sat 13 May
    Quay National SchoolSt. Patrick’s Church11am Sat 20 May
    Behy National SchoolSt. Muredach’s Cathedral11am Sat 20 May

    Confirmation Dates

    All ceremonies will take place in St. Patrick’s Church.

    Scoil ÍosaSt. Patrick’s Church11am Sat 25 March
    Gaelscoil na gCeithre MaolSt. Patrick’s Church2pm Sat 25 March
    Culleens National SchoolSt. Patrick’s Church11am Sat 22 April
    Quay National SchoolSt. Patrick’s Church2pm Sat 22 April
    Behy National SchoolSt. Patrick’s Church2pm Sat 29 April
    Breaffy National SchoolSt. Patrick’s Church2pm Sat 6 May
  • The Stained Glass Windows of Saint Muredach’s Cathedral

    Honouring our Past, Securing our Future
    The Stained Glass Windows of Saint Muredach’s Cathedral

    Saint Muredach’s Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Killala in the West of Ireland. It is located on the banks of the River Moy in Ballina, County Mayo and is the most recognisable landmark in the town. The Cathedral’s construction was initiated by Bishop John McHale who served as Bishop of Killala from 1825 to 1834, before his appointment as Archbishop of Tuam. Work on the Cathedral began in 1827, with the foundation stone being laid on the 24th of May that year. In 2027, God willing, this beautiful Cathedral will celebrate its bi-centenary.

    Over the past twenty-five years, major renovations have been undertaken both inside and outside the Cathedral. It is hoped to complete this work in the coming years in the lead-in to the bi-centenary celebration. The first project in this final phase of work is to safeguard the Cathedral’s beautiful stained glass windows.

    Work was carried out on some of the Cathedral windows in the late 1990s as part of the refurbishment work undertaken at the Cathedral before the turn of the millennium, and consequently the work needing to be carried out on these windows now involves minimum re-leading with an emphasis on necessary stone repairs and repointing in situ. However, a number of the windows were not repaired at that time because of budgetary constraints, and these need to be conserved and restored (involving significant re-leading) as part of this project. The work to be carried out now will also involve the removal of all of the existing storm glazing which is no longer considered to be giving adequate protection to these very valuable stained glass windows, and replacement with new and better protective glazing. The current glazing is fitted close to the stained glass with little ventilation allowed for. The putty which seals the glass to the reveals is cracked and allowing water to penetrate. The necessary repairs to the stained glass and the replacement of some of the timber frames will take place on-site, along with the necessary stone repairs and repointing around the windows. It is envisaged that the two large transept windows will need to be removed for more extensive and delicate required works to be carried out at a work studio.

    The stained glass windows in Saint Muredach’s Cathedral are among its richest heritage and are virtually irreplaceable. With the exception of four smaller windows, all of the stained glass windows in Saint Muredach’s Cathedral have originated from Franz Mayer & Company of Munich, Germany, a company established in 1848. Their value is now incalculable because the Mayer Studios in Munich with their details of designs, records, installations and techniques were completely destroyed by Allied bombers in World War Two.

    The Cathedral windows feature many of the Irish saints including the national patron Patrick, and Muredach the patron saint of Killala diocese. The Sanctuary Window in the East Gable behind the altar depicts Saint Muredach, Saint Dympna, Saint Asicus, and Saint Colmcille. Second row: Saint Lawrence O’ Toole, Saint Patrick, Saint Bridget, and Saint Kevin. At the top of the window there are the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. A window in the right (Ardnaree) Nave depicts Saint Anthony, Saint Catherine, Saint John, and Saint Michael. Some of the side windows depict scenes from the Gospels: the visit of the angel Gabriel to Mary, the birth of the baby Jesus, the sisters Martha and Mary, and the Ascension to mention just a few. These beautiful windows, with their strong colours and vivid themes, add hugely to the Cathedral’s prayerful ambiance as the changing light provides a wonderful display of changing patterns.

    As with any enduring legacy of this scale, it requires a significant financial commitment to undertake this important project. The projected cost of the entire work to the seventeen Mayer windows is €332,000, Further on, you will see a breakdown of the costs per window. We invite you to help us by contributing a financial gift in any amount to help us ensure that the beautiful stained glass windows are conserved for another generation and beyond.

    The names of donors of an entire window repair, and those in whose memory the work to the stained glass windows are sponsored, will be recorded on a special bi-centennial commemorative Plaque of Remembrance inside the Cathedral.

    As an eligible charity, charitable giving to Saint Muredach’s Cathedral offers tax relief benefits to (U.S.) donors.

    To contribute to the project either by way of a once-off donation or, alternatively, in annual installments over the coming four to five years, and to learn more about sponsoring the repair of a Cathedral window in memory of loved ones and a recording on the Plaque of Remembrance, please contact the parish priest of the Cathedral, Father Aidan O’ Boyle, directly at +353 87 236 4518 (cell phone), or email him at: .

    Whatever ways you support us we thank you and look forward to continuing to serve you in the years ahead.

    Breakdown of Costs per Window

    Main Sanctuary Window€30,000
    Window either side of the main Sanctuary Window€23,000 x 2
    Window over the reredos on either side of the Sanctuary€17,000 x 2
    North Gable Transept Window€35,000
    South Gable Transept Window€35,000
    Window at the back of each Transept€12,000 x 2
    8 Windows along the main aisle€16,000 x 8
    Total costs (17 windows)€332,000

    Acknowledgements for text

    Brendan Hoban, Kilmoremoy Parish (2009)
    Jim McGuire, Steeple & People. The Story of Ballina and Its Cathedral (1991)