In 1841 a Presbyterian Church was built in Broomfield, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan, soon after the Synod of Ulster and the Secession Synod combined to form the General assembly. It served 50 families in the area, but by 1973 the number of Families had dwindled. The Presbyterian Congregation was amalgamated with a neighbouring district, due to this decline in numbers and services have not been held since then. The Building itself was in a fairly serious state of decay. The timber floor internally had to be removed because of dry rot and the original gallery had been removed. Most of the plasterwork internally had crumbled off the walls. All of the windows were damaged and beyond repair so that the building was then open to the elements at the sides.
The basic structure, proportions and scale ofthe building are very attractive being typical of a very restrained and simple style appropriate to Presbyterian beliefs. The building in itself deserved conservation both because it is architecturally attractive and because it is socially significant in terms of the multi-denominational heritage within this part of Ireland.
The wider community in Broomfield got together and decided to try and save the building from demolition, which was a distinct possibility if fund raising wasn’t co-ordinated to preserve it.
Several years of fund-raising and grant applications followed. A Development company, Broomfield and Aughnafarcon Development Company was formed and the Church was renovated in stages. The windows were replaced with wooden windows to match the original ones and the roof repaired. Cast Iron radiators were installed to heat the building and a U shaped balcony was added to the gallery area. The original wall area behind the altar was preserved and as much as possible of the original Church was saved. Stone slabs were laid on the floor to try and keep the original feel and look of the church. The original floor had disintegrated and large holes were evident all over.
An extension to the building was added and this extension consists of a kitchen, three toilets, one with wheelchair access and shower facilities on the ground floor. The first floor has three offices, a toilet and an internal fire escape to ground level. The internal décor has a cosy, warm feel to it, with the walls painted in a warm golden colour, with pine panelling and part of the floor laid with pine also.
The Church now includes a Craft Shop and Cafe on the ground floor in the main body of the church. There is a larger area on the first floor which is on the location of the original gallery and at the moment we have some Antique and reproduction furniture for sale there.
The Development Company applied to Fas for Grant Aid under the Social Economy Scheme. In practise this means that Fas will pay the wages of six workers including a manager for an ongoing period, after this it is hoped that the project itself will be self sufficient / viable and hopefully will be able to survive commercially. We now receive Grant Aid from The Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. (Pobal) It is of a great benefit to the project and will help greatly in trying to make the Centre viable.
The crafts for the Craft Shop are sourced from all over Ireland but are mainly from the Cavan – Monaghan, Armagh area. We have hand made jewellery, knitwear, iron craft, woodcraft, turf craft and artwork to name just a few.
We provide a variety of hot lunches each day, Roast Beef, Boiled Bacon & Cabbage, Battered Cod, Chicken, Scampi etc, etc.
Some other items from our Cafe Menu includes
Home Made Soup, Fish and Chips, Burgers, Pancakes, Quiche, lasagne, Chicken Curry, Chicken Tortilla Wraps, Baked Potato with your choice of filling, Salad Platters made to order, Regular and Toasted Sandwiches including our very popular Pannini’s. Our best seller and best value is our “All Day Breakfast” We serve Desserts like; Baileys Cheese Cake, Black Forrest Gateaux, Carrot cake, Dutch Apple Pie etc, etc. We serve our own Home Made Fruit Scones, Apple Pie, Apple Sponge, Crème Brettle and Our Delicious Award Winning Coffee is favourably commented on by our customers on a Daily Basis. For those whose delicate palate goes beyond tea or coffee, we are delighted to offer a selection of Fine Wines.
The position of our Centre on the N2 Dublin toDerry Road, halfway between Carrickmacross and Castleblayney is being utilised by both Locals and the Travelling Public alike. Customers tell us that they welcome the fact that there is somewhere to stop outside of the local towns that can provide free convenient parking, including parking for Buses.
We have recently opened a Heritage area on the first floor which also includes an Audio/Visual Room. Please pay it a visit. The Short films you can enjoy are around five minutes long and include historical and non historical entertainment. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Staff of Monaghan Museum for there help in this area.
We are approximately half way between Dublin and Derry/Donegal making us an ideal place to stretch your legs. Most people are pleasantly surprised when they come inside our Centre; the Atmosphere is cosy and our Staff are very friendly. We have developed our Craft Shop Further to include a Gift Ware area, which is proving increasingly popular.
We are delighted that you called in to visit and we are happy to extend to you a Very Warm Welcome.
Our Opening Hours are: Monday 9am to 5pm. Tuesday to Friday 9am to 6pm. Saturday and Sunday 1pm to 6pm.Closed Bank Holidays. We also cater for Small Parties
Our Centre is owned by the Community for the Community. Customers patronage help Broomfield Aughnafarcon Development provide services to the Elderly, support Youth Inclusion and provides meeting space for Groups from our area. It also provides much needed Jobs in the Community.
We gratefully acknowledge the help of Pobal without whose assistance this project would not be possible. Thanks also to the staff of An Eaglais for their efforts in ensuring that visitors to our Centre have a positive experience.
On behalf of our team,