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Mullabrack Parishes – a Short History

Welcome to the Parishes of Mullabrack and Kilcluney Markethill .


Some background …..



St John’s Parish Church Kilcluney

The Parish of Kilcluney was originally known as ‘Cloncerney’ from the Irish Clan- Cernagh, as the Parish was once the home of the Gaelic O’Hanlon clan until the land was granted over to Scottish settlers including Sir James Douglas and Sir Henry Acheson.  The original site and burying ground is situated at Kilbracks approx 2km  south of Markethill on the road to Glenanne. Reputedly, the last  man in Ireland hanged for sheep stealing is buried there!


A gift of £500 from the Board of First Fruits in 1794 brought about the completion of the present Church in the townland of Glassdrummond on the Keady Road.


The Ordnance Survey records of 1838 describe it as: “Glassdrummond church, situated in the townland of Glassdrummond on the road between Markethill and Keady is a plain rectangular building, slated and in good order, without a tower.

It was started in the year 1788 and repaired last in 1836, a new roof and gable having been added.  It is 50 feet long and 25 feet broad.

The Church has recently been re-roofed and repainted and the old Parish Hall – known locally as ‘The Abbey’ – has been re-located from the vicinity of the old Church and incorporated into the new Parish Hall.  The extensive car-park and churchyard paths have just been resurfaced.


St John’s Parish Church, Mullabrack, Markethill.

Mullabrack Parish Church is situated near the market town of Markethill in the rolling countryside of County Armagh. It is located 10 miles south from the City of Armagh of the Armagh- Newry Road.


The earliest church at Mullabrack – the name means ‘The Hill of the speckled summit’- was founded -probably about the middle of the 5th Cent -on land acquired by the Culdee Priors of Armagh who are regarded as the successors of St Patrick. The first building would have been a simple wooden structure situated, like the present church, within the remains of an ancient earthen-ringed fort. We have, unfortunately, no information as to what any of the subsequent edifices looked like, until the year 1700, however, we do know that the church was badly damaged in the rebellion of 1641.


The earliest picture of Mullabrack Church appears on a Communion Plate which depicts the church as it was in 1700.  It was much smaller than the present building and had no tower which was added in 1814 with further enlarging and rebuilding in 1830, creating the church as we know it today.


Chapel of Ease, Markethill

This Church was the gift of Lord John Beresford, former Rector and was  formerly the town courthouse.

It was licensed for Divine Service on 14th November 1851. On the front of the church is a tablet with the following inscription:- “This Tablet is erected by the  Parishioners of Mullabrack in grateful acknowledgement of the munificent gift of this Chapel of Ease by their Rector, the Most Hon and Rev John De La Poer Beresford, Marquess of Waterford on his retirement from the Incumbency 1859”