Above the west entrance, which opened directly into the nave, was a gallery reached by a spiral staircase. Over it a large Rose Window supplemented the light from windows in the aisles and from quatrefoil clerestory lights which illuminate the nave at high level. At the south west access to the church was gained through a porch with a Gothic Door and tracery. There is a niche above the door containing a statue of St. Patrick. At the Nave and Transept intersection there is a Lantern Tower lit by two windows on each elevation. To the south east is a Sacristy and a minor entrance over which rises a graceful and slender Belfry Tower.
The external facings are coursed Scrabo Stone from Messrs. Ritchie and Jackson’s quarries with horizontal bands and dressings of red sandstone from Mr. John Mawhinney’s quarries at Dundonald.
As to the completed interior of the Church we shall leave the description to Fr. McConvey, who described the church as “a cathedral in miniature” because of its resemblance to the cathedral of “Our Lady and St. Philip” in Arundel, West Sussex. Fr. McConvey went on to say; “The Altars, High and Virgin, are stone, the work is well done and reflects credit on the designers and architect. The High Altar is a Privileged Altar which by grace was obtained through our benefactress. The original Stations of the Cross were purchased in Paris by Lady Londonderry. They are oil paintings and are well executed. All the church furniture was selected and purchased by the Marchioness. The benches are very neat and comfortable. The sanctuary is laid with Turkish carpet and the furniture consists of two oak chairs cushioned in red velvet. An oak Glastonbury chair cushioned in the same manner as the other chairs has been provided for the Bishop. The Pulpit has been upholstered with crimson velvet and the Altar plate has been modelled on older plate in the possession of the Duke of Norfolk in Arundel”.
At the time the cost of the church was reported to be £10,000. Lady Elizabeth, who died on 3rd September 1884, would have been pleased to see the Co. Down Guide and Directory of 1886 describe the church as follows: “The Roman Catholic Church in North Street is an exceedingly handsome edifice. It is situated on the hillside and has well kept grounds.”
Over the succeeding decades the church provided for the spiritual needs of the parishioners but by 1960 much of the structure of the building was in need of repairs. In October 1961, architects McLean and Forte examined the condition of the church and reported to the Rev. E. O’Brien C.C. that various repairs would be required, namely, the bad state of the Dundonald stone dressings around the windows and doors, the roof and drainage, the heating, lighting and the entrance to the church and the need for repairs to the Sanctuary.
Work on the church began in October 1962. The Sanctuary steps were altered, wood block laid and an altar rail fitted across both the Sanctuary and the Lady Chapel. A new porch and Baptistry was formed in the rear entrance. The original Morton tiles on the floor replaced by Mosaic inlaid with five panels showing the Evangelists and St. Patrick’s Bell. New confessionals, a new lighting system and an oil fired boiler with radiators replaced the pipe coil heating. Minor repairs were carried out to the stonework and roofs and the grounds were landscaped. The builder was John Dunn and Son of Mill Street, Newtownards, the heating by Bell and Martin of Belfast and Scrabo Electrics were responsible for the lighting and the P.A. system. The Church was rededicated at 12 noon on Sunday 30th June 1963 by the Most Rev. Dr. William Philbin D.D., Bishop of Down and Connor.
[continued on next page – use pagelinks below]