Comprehensive History


November 1906– on Sunday 11th November a charity sermon was preached in St Columb’s by Bishop Clancy of Elphin, to help pay off heavy debt incurred by the building of new schools. Rev Philip O’Doherty PP of Claudy, preached in the evening. The speakers were organised by Monsignor McFaul.

In 1912 St Patrick’s Hall was built, a significant sign that the Church in the Waterside had come to maturity, when it could concern itself with providing opportunity for the social and recreational interests of its members.

The renowned Fr W.B McFeely was appointed Parish Priest of Glendermott by Bishop McHugh in 1915. These two had formed a close association over the years, based on mutual respect of the qualities that each had perceived in each other and by friendship. Fr McFeely had a deep veneration for Mary, Mother of God, and significantly enough one of his first public acts was in the parish was the unveiling of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, erected by the Catholic Soliders of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in memory of their fallen comrades. It is thought that this Grotto was dedicated on Easter Sunday 1916. A special parade of Catholic soldiers at Ebrington filled the Sacred Edifice whilst Fr McFeely, Chaplain to the forces, delivered a sermon and afterwards joined with the soldiers in reciting the Rosary.

Towards the end of 1916, a scheme was launched for extensive improvements in the Parish. A building fund was started was started and with the approval of the Bishop, an appeal was made for outside funds. From this, the Waterside church was renovated, an organ installed, and an extension was built to the parochial house. In 1917, a large job of fibrous plaster work was carried out by Michael Creedon, Clare Lane, Dublin on St Columb’s. The Church was closed for the period of this work.


In March 1917, Fr McFeely began negotiations with the Enagh Lough AOH for purchase of their hall, that he might convert it into a chapel. On 25th March, Brothers William and Con Doherty were appointed delegates to discuss a suitable price for building with any representatives the parish priest would name. At the following meeting on 8th April, it was announced the hall would be sold for £200. It was thereupon decided that the society would contribute £40 to the expenses of building a chapel. Therefore, Mass was celebrated again after so many centuries at Enagh Lough.

September 1919 is a significant date in the annals of the parish, for in that month the Sisters of the Good Shepherd came to the Waterside and began in Derry their work of providing refuge for the wayward and the unfortunate. Initially there was only Mother Ita and two companions, supporting themselves by doing needlework and embroidery. They also made vestments and church linens. The laundry was built in 1926, providing them with a more substantial income. By 1929 an extensive building programme was completed with new dormitories, kitchen, dining room and chapel. A more permanent chapel was built and dedicated in 1959 with Most Rev Dr Neil Farren presiding. Quietly, but with zeal and untiring perseverance the Sisters of the Good Shepherd have carried out their work in Derry, and what they have done for God’s cause can never be assessed by a mere historian.


In August 1928 the school at Enagh Lough which replaced the old one built in 1870 was completed. A few years later the new school for boys at Chapel Road was opened, and the entire accommodation of the older school was then left for the girls. It was at this time when the chapel at Enagh Lough was extended, and its accommodation almost doubled.

The foundation stone of Ardmore Church (then part of the parish) was laid on Sunday, 9th September 1929 by his Lordship Most Rev. Dr O’Kane. In little over a year, 2nd November 1930, the new St Mary’s was solemnly blessed.

The Sodality Groups for men, women and children met once a month for prayers, benediction and a sermon. During the 1930’s the Women’s Sodality at the instigation of Fr Barney Smith raised what was then the very considerable sum of £500 to buy new altar rails and bronze gates which adorned the church altar until 1976.