But the most extensive structural extension to Newry Cathedral awaited the raising to the Dromore Bishopric of Henry O’Neill in the first decade of the twentieth century. He served as Bishop 1901-1905.
The main body of the Cathedral was lengthened and the whole interior decorated. Denis Neary, then Newry’s leading architect designed the changes which took almost five years. The body of the Church became some 40 feet longer and the addition of thirty feet to the rear allowed for the present Sanctuary. A striking feature of the Sanctuary area, the granite Chancel arch was constructed. Rich interior mosaics were completed, detailing scenes from the Scriptures, the lives of the Saints and the listing of the parishes of the diocese. Side Chapels, Our Ladies’ and St Joseph‘s were constructed. On the southern side of the Cathedral, the site of the (recently burned-down) Wright’s Mill was purchased, allowing for the development of the present Cathedral garden.
Still it was not until 1919 under Bishop Edward Mulhern that it was formally recognised by the Holy See as the Diocesan Cathedral of Dromore, under the joint patronage of Saints Patrick and Colman. The latter saint had founded the See of Dromore in 514. Saint Patrick established his foundation some sixty years later. He is said to have celebrated Mass at Dromore on a journey from Armagh to Saul, the site of his earliest Church.
…….. more on Cathedral later ……..