St Oliver’s – Dorsey

St Oliver Plunkett’s Church serves Dorsey and the surrounding area.

Address – Roxbrough Road, Cullyhanna, Newry, Co Down BT35 0QJ


On the 12th July 1954 the foundations for the new chapel were dug by eight local men:

  • Pat Loughran
  • Packy Mackin
  • Felix Mackin (carpenter)
  • Mickey Casey
  • Terry Lennon
  • Terry McDonnell
  • Peter Quigley
  • Pete Loughran

They worked from 8.00am to 9.00pm daily until the foundations were ready for the builders. Dinner and tea was provided by Maggie Mulligan and Angela Reel. The building was built by men from Newtownhamilton – the Murphys and Galbraiths. It was plastered by McNulty from Cullyhanna.

Parishioners paid £30 per household towards the building which was a lot of money then. A few people paid £50 and according to some a lot paid nothing at all. Felix Mackin (Farmer) gave the site free and took two and half years to complete and was opened and dedicated to Blessed Oliver Plunkett on Sunday 11th November 1956. The church was solemnly blessed and dedicated by his Eminence Cardinal D’Alton, Primate of All Ireland. The new church was built by the parishioners themselves. It was a proud day for the parish. Banners and bunting in Papal colours flew in profusion near the edifice.

The official opening of the church marked the fulfilment of a dream which had for years been cherished by the faithful of Dorsey – to have a church on that side of the parish which would lessen the burden of travel on the aged and infirm. Rev. Tom Fee (Later to become Cardinal Archbishop and Primate of All Ireland) a native of the parish who preached the special sermon, said they had come together that day to join with the priests and people of the parish of Lower Creggan in celebrating a great occasion in their history. The ceremony marked the handing over to the service of God of a worthy temple erected by them in His honour and worship. They watched with pride the simple and dignified building rise gradually until it became a landmark for miles around; they visited it constantly to spur on the work with a word of encouragement, they looked forward to the great day and that day they had the joy and honour to welcome among them the highest dignitary in the Irish Church, and the successor of St. Patrick himself, to bless with his own hand the work which they had so nobly accomplished. Truly it was an occasion for congratulating them and rejoicing with them.

His Eminence Cardinal D’Alton in his address to the congregation said their new church would be a source of many blessings for the people and no doubt God would reward them for their loyalty and generosity. Proceeding his Eminence said he was particularly glad that the church had been dedicated to Blessed Oliver Plunkett, who had so many associations with the district, finding refuge there from the Penal Laws. The Cardinal said the building of the church was a wonderful achievement. The persecution against the Church which is going on today under Communist domination (i.e. Hungary, Eastern Europe). said his Eminence enables us to understand better the heroic stature of Blessed Oliver. We are able to realise more fully the sacrifices and suffering which he endured for the preservation of the Faith. The people of the Parish could have no pastor more zealous or possessed of a higher sense of duty than Fr. Laverty. The work could not have been accomplished without the loyal co-operation of priests and parishioners alike. Fr. Laverty thanked his Eminence for so graciously coming to the parish that day to dedicate the new church. Despite the numerous calls upon him, his Eminence took a keen interest in the progress of the work and his guidance and help was always a source of encouragement to them all. Fr. Laverty thanked all who had worked in any way on the project and especially Mr. Felix Mackin, Sr., for so kindly giving the site free, and also Mr Felix Mackin, Jr., who did most of the joinery work and supervised the building work free of cost.

On 19th November 2006 the Parish Priest Fr. Kevin Cullen and his curate Fr. Patrick McGuckian, along with all the priests who served in the past and especially all the parishioners of our beloved St. Oliver Plunkett’s Church Dorsey,  joined together in welcoming Archbishop Sean Brady, in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the building of this beautiful little church.