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The struggle to get a Catholic Church
Early in the seventeenth century the leader of the MacDonnell clan was Randal. Although he had fought with the O'Neill as a rebel for some years, in 1602 he deserted the lost cause of the O’Neill’s and became reconciled with the Government.  He received the honour of knighthood and became the owner of vast estates stretching from Coleraine to Larne.  Later he was created Viscount Dunluce and ultimately became first Earl of Antrim.
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Ballycastle becomes a parish again

By 1825 the Catholics of Ballycastle thought that their town and surrounding area was large enough to become a parish in its own right, separate from the Parish of Armoy, of which it had been part for many years.  They decided to approach Dr Crolly, Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Connor, when next he came to Ballycastle, presumably for Confirmation. 

The McGildowneys were a very famous family in Ballycastle, although Edmund McGildowney was the only who was a Catholic.  He invited the Bishop and some of the important Catholics of Ballycastle to his house for lunch.  His house is now part of the Marine Hotel at the foot of the Quay Road.  The rest of the McGildowney’s resided at Clare Park House, to the North of the town. 

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New School
In 1853 Father James McGlennon built a school beside the chapel at Fairhill.  The application to the Commissioners for Grant Aid gives the details of the building:
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New Site

By 1870 the chapel at the Fairhill was too small for the congregation. The parish priest. Father Patrick McAlister, who had succeeded Father McGlennon in 1862, began looking for a decent-sized site for a new church at what is now called Moyle Road. 

He obtained from Mrs Boyd, the widow of Hugh Boyd, the deceased landlord of Ballycastle, five acres of ground on a very fine site on what was then known as Clare Road.  Father McAlister sent a letter of thanks to the editor of “The Northern Whig”:

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