st-augustines-church

St. Augustine's
Church

Palace Street

SAT NAV : BT48 6PS

St.Augustine’s, fondly known as ‘the Wee Church on the Walls’, sits on the Grand Parade of Derry’s Walls on the site of St.Columba’s first monastery in Ireland.
Columba (Columb or Colmcille, meaning dove of the church) was born of royal parentage at Gartan, Co. Donegal in 522AD. After study with St Mobhi at Glasnevin, Dublin, in 546AD his cousin Aed, King of Cenel Conaill gave him the oak clad Hill of Derry on which to build his first church. Reluctant to cut down any of his beloved oaks, Columba chose a clearing in the middle of the oakgrove, resulting in the church running north south rather than the usual east west. This unique footprint remains to this day and it is from this oak-clad hill that Derry gets its name (Doire, meaning grove of the oaks).

 

“Were all the tribute of Alba mine, From its centre to its border, I would prefer the site of one house in the middle of fair Derry” The Monastic site was raided, destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries.

 

1164 – Bishop Flaithbertach O’Brolchain builds the ‘great church’ of Tempall Mor close to the Long Tower. The ancient abbey named the ‘Dub Regles’
1196 – Muircertach Mac Lochlainn, one of the last High Kings of Ireland, was ‘honourably interred’ at the Dub Regles 1200 – The Irish Celtic Church had lost its uniqueness through the introduction of structures more in keeping with European Christianity. 1397 – Archbishop Colton of Armagh records that on a visit to Derry he lodged with the Augustinian canons at the Dub Regles. By the early 1400’s, all Columba’s abbeys throughout Ireland came under the rule of the Augustinian Order signalling the end of the ancient Celtic Christian Church.
1560 – Ancient yew tree at the Dub Regles an established place of pilgrimage
1565 – Colonel Edward Randolph sent by Elizabeth 1 to supress Shane O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone
1566 – Gunpowder stored in the great Cathedral of Tempall Mor explodes destroying the city except the ancient abbey of Colmcille ‘by reason of its height and position on the crown of the Hill of Derry’
1600 – Sir Henry Docwra repairs Abbey Church for use of English Planters
1613 – Charter is granted by James1 to the Honourable the Irish Society and the prefix London is added to Derry. A gilt chalice (The Promise Chalice ) and paten were presented to the repaired church as a token of intentby the Honourable the Irish Society to build a Cathedral. The translated inscription on the chalice reads ‘Church of God in the City of Derrie’
1633 – Cathedral of St. Columb completed 1689 – Church used by the Presbyterians for worship during the Great Siege and the mortar shell containing the Terms of Surrender fell into the old church graveyard. It can still be seen in the porch of the Cathedral.
1765 – Church rebuilt by Bishop Barnard, becoming Chapel of Ease to St.
Columb’s Cathedral. ‘restored, accommodation for 240
1872 – The new church of St. Augustine’s was built and consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Derry and Raphoe Dr William Alexander (husband of Mrs Cecil Frances Alexander, the hymn writer) on 11 June 1872.

 

During the Troubles the church was damaged on three occasions but each time the damage was repaired and worship continued.

 

St.Augustine’s remains a living, vibrant Church where we warmly welcome all to our “little oasis of peace and tranquility”. We have a very active congregation and church life and our mission statement is:
Together, as a caring family we seek to: grow in faith, share God’s love, welcome others. We are a community whose hope is in Christ.

Artwork

This beautiful church nestled within the city's walls features a number of subtly integrated artworks. These incorporate elements taken from architectural details from the church's building. As you stroll up the path towards the church you will cross the seal featuring doves and the church's crest. The sides of the path are edged with with 74m of cast bronze detailing. Look up to find the bronze dove which appears throughout the trail.
st-augustines-church Map Detail

St Columba &
St. Augustines

In 563AD Columba travelled down the River Foyle into exile on the Scottish island of Iona from where he spread Christianity to pagan Britain and Europe. His Derry monastery continued to flourish and became the leading monastery in Ireland.


From exile Columba returned to Ireland only once in 575AD to 'thickly veiled' attend the Convention of Drumceatt, close to Limavady. Columba died on 9 June 597AD, a day still honoured and celebrated in our city. "Were all the tribute of Alba mine, From its centre to its border, I would prefer the site of one house in the middle of fair Derry".