A short history of numbers 35 and 37 Dominic Street (Queen Street) which are in the process of conversion into the Lectio Centre.
7 March 1871 the very Rev. Bishop John Pius Leahy introduced the Dominican Order to Newry, and the original four Fathers for a short time lived in a house in Hyde Market, before moving to a house in Chapel Street, where they had the use of St. Mary’s Chapel until 1875.
On moving to Newry a Mr. John Quinn of Margaret Street was a great benefactor of the Dominicans. He owned a quarry field in Ballybot and this he offered to the Order as a Site for their new Church and Priory.
The foundation stone for the new church was laid in 1875 and for the new Priory in 1881. During these early years, while waiting for the completion of the building of the new Priory the Dominican Priests lived community life, studied, prayed and worked in No.35 and 37 Dominic Street. These houses were also donated to the Dominicans by the Quinn family.
Attached you can see some photographs of John Quinn and His Sisters and also the two houses. These are prints from the Book of the Golden Jubilee of the Dominican Church printed in 1928 and it is remarkable that the houses look exactly the same ninety years later!
The original names Queen Street now Dominic Street and King Street now Francis Street were changed in the late 1950’s.
Construction is well under way in the Lectio Centre, it is a major project which entailed completely removing the entire internals of both houses as well as the need for a complete new roof.
The finished Centre will have three floor levels, the ground floor will consist of a Reception, Library, Kitchen, Toilets and a Lift, the first floor will have two Lectio Community rooms and the second floor will have two ensuite Bed Rooms for Dominican guests.
The attached photographs will give an indication of the amount of work involved. During the next few months, as work progresses, we will update this Site with more photographs to keep you informed.
The Red Post Box which has been part of this Building for over ninety years and has during this time served the people of Queen Street and then Dominic Street will remain in its present position as part of the new Centre.
When completed the Lectio Centre will be a valuable asset to the Preaching ministry of the Dominican Community of Newry, providing a new space to hear and encounter the Word of God, and it is fitting that it will be opened during the Celebrations of 800 years of the Order.
Father Ralph would like to thank all whose donations make this Project possible.
(John Fox – Editor)