In the garden opposite St Catherine’s Church stands an iron cross about five feet high. Over the years there has been much speculation about the origins of the cross and how it came to be placed there. Local historian Eamon McAteer has been able to provide answers with the following account:
The cross is the original cross which was placed on the church spire when the church was built. At some time it was either removed or fell to the ground. It ended up beneath a pile of scrap metal in a local blacksmith’s yard. The blacksmith was Jack McCullough, a member of an old Newry liberal Protestant family and his yard was on Merchant’s Quay where P & R Motors now operate. One day in the early 1950’s Edward McAteer, a member of another old Newry family called to McCullough’s on one of his regular visits. Edward was a local historian and raconteur and when he spotted the cross curiosity got the better of him and he enquired about its origins. On discovering that it had originally been on St Catherine’s Church, Edward was interested in seeing it returned. Mr McCullough generously offered it to Edward who contacted the Prior of the time. Arrangements were made and a driver from the local Coal Merchants of Moore and Dunwoody collected and returned the cross to St Catherine’s. The Dominican Community decided to place it where it now stands. At the time all those involved asked for anonymity but with the passage of time and since they are all now deceased it is fitting that their actions should be remembered now.
Written By: Eamon McAteer