• 03 August 2020

Outreach in the midst of conflict

The vicar of Ballymacarrett in the 1920s, Revd John Redmond, is the inspiring subject of the RB Library's Archive of the Month for August.

The Revd John Redmond was a well-known figure in the columns of the Church of Ireland Gazette in the 1920s. He was vicar of the parish of Ballymacarrett in East Belfast, 1920-29, with its church dedicated to St Patrick, and spiritual home to more members of the Church of Ireland than any other parish in the country.

In 1960 he published a record of his time at St Patrick's which casts extra light on this decade. He played a key role in trying to bring peace to the streets of Belfast during riots of 1920, and he extended the work of the church among the working class of industrial Belfast.

Members of the Church of Ireland made up almost one third of the population of Belfast in the 1920s. They included many of the poorest inhabitants in the city. An article in the Gazette, 21 April 1922, commented: "The Church of Ireland is, in Belfast, the church of the poor". Ballymacarrett parish, in the shadow of the shipyards, contained a very large number of working class members of the church, many of whom suffered social and economic deprivation.

The article has been written by historian, Professor Brian M Walker, who is a parishioner of Holy Trinity Drumbo.

Read the full story on the Church of Ireland website here.