St Patrick's, Cairncastle, one of Northern Ireland’s oldest country churches, is set to throw open its doors to welcome visitors during the summer.
The historic church will be open to the public every Thursday evening throughout July and August from 7pm–8.30pm.
Visitors will be able to enjoy first hand some of the famous features of the church, as well as some recently restored aspects of the charming old building.
The most notable include a font reputedly used by Jonathan Swift (of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ fame) who was vicar of nearby Kilroot in 1695/6, while outside the graveyard contains tombstones dating back to 1696 and an impressive Spanish chestnut tree linked to an Armada shipwreck in 1588.
The new features include the beautiful new Maidens' stained glass window dedicated in memory of Captain John Park, ship’s master for many years on the P&O Larne/Fleetwood ferry – depicting images of the Ferry together with the Maidens islands and complemented by the motto: “Christ be with me,” taken from the Hymn of St Patrick.
There is also a plaque in remembrance of Sir Thomas Dixon, for many years the People’s Warden in the Parish, along with the magnificent restored Meyer East Window originally installed in 1885 in memory of James Chaine who was once a local MP.
In addition, during the July open evenings the parish's summer prayer group will be taking the opportunity to pray together for the two churches in the parish and for any visitors who would like prayer.