vestments, hanging in hall

The Bishop could say to me next week: I want you go to X and be a priest there – and I would go.

So, this is a parochial house, it is not my home: it is my work.

clock and prayer books  in parochial house

People will come to the parochial house at all hours.

Very often it’s not convenient for them to come during the day so they come at night to get passports signed. Sometimes they want advice…or to discuss problems; they need counselling. 

I’m not a counsellor… but I would help and listen and maybe signpost them.

light fitting in parochial house

Whenever I first came into this parochial house it was cleared out: there was nothing.

You get an allowance to maybe… carpet it, curtain it, paint it.

I’ve heard of priests leaving a parish and saying I better get this place painted. And they paint it and curtain it and clear off.  In comes the new guy: “ I don’t like that colour.” And he’s allowed to get it painted etc.

kitchen with TV in parochial house

Most of the fixtures and fittings belong to the parochial house and you leave them behind.

I suppose if I took a dislike to that kitchen you could change it OK. If it’s over a certain amount of money you have to ask the Parish Finance Committee and see what they would say.

When I first saw the house I was very happy, very pleased. I felt it a compliment to be entrusted with this place. It’s a generous enough house. I like it.

This house originally came off peg – as a standard 5- bedroom bungalow and customised. It is 15 years old.

Upstairs there is a decent bedroom, two more guest bedrooms, one ensuite and one not.

It’s a sizeable bungalow – but there’s not a lot of residential space in it. The kitchen and all the rest was here, and I think it’s fine.

I don’t want to change it. It will do me.

garden and kitchen view parochial house

This is where I spend most of my social time….

At the end of the day when all the work is done… looking at the garden, relaxing –  maybe watching  television.

This table and chairs… I was given those as a gift, it’s a very good table so I hold on to it.  I do a lot of business with couples and we have a coffee together. You can put quite a few places at this table. I think there were six chairs with it.

priest's house, living room, jazzy carpet

Look at the size of this room! You see the carpet is very dominating. How can I fix this room? Apart from ripping up the carpet and throwing out the settee – which is part of me?

It is a large sitting room, a huge room.. but I very rarely use it. I have furniture in it that I cherish that I bought it myself about 30 years ago.  

I often ask the girls in the office:  There is a sitting room that’s just going to waste. What should I do? Immediately they say: change the carpet… throw out the furniture…that’s awful, get rid of that!

That’s a broken old chair.. it doesn’t matter. That’s a desk that’s never used.

The chairs are comfortable. They may be old fashioned – but that’s OK. If people don’t like them that’s their problem. I wouldn’t worry about it. 

If the room was more comfortable I would be happy enough. I wouldn’t be afraid  to spend more money buying new stuff.

priest's house, big room with heavy furniture

You could put a billiard table in this room it’s so big..

If you are sitting on that chair you want to look at the TV. So you can’t look out at the view. I think in this room you have the option to look at the TV – or look out the window. You can’t do both.

I’d say the carpet is very expensive; it’s probably Axminster or something like that. It probably cost a lot of money.  But to me it’s a purely utilitarian carpet.

stained glass panels, door, living room

My attitude is: for somebody to come in and rip that carpet up it would cost a lot of money. To throw it in a skip and put down clickety-clack floors. … it’s a waste that I don’t need.

toy tank, fireplace, picture and doorway

You can see I like military things and tanks. A priest that I’m friendly with bought it and said  that’s your style of leadership: “Let’s go!”.

mahogany furniture, table, crystal, formal room, parochial house

This is the parochial house dining room.

That furniture matches what I have in the other room….. “The Rossmore Furniture”. I liked it when I was a student and couldn’t afford anything else. I like it, and it stayed with me.

All that crystal in that cupboard was given to me as presents.

parochial house office, desks, priest,

This was originally my office. The two office staff were in a pokey room so I put them in here.

This is a grand room with a lovely view. I’m not in the office much.

waiting room parochial house

I was 21 years a priest before I became a Parish Priest.

I was 14 years as a teacher and then  I worked in O. and then  after that I went to B.  Then I did a Masters became a Religious Inspector in Schools.

After that I was sent to a parish in west Belfast – which was a  big challenge. I was 14 years there. 

I lived in a little council house – but again, it was adequate. The parish bought 10 acres of ground and on that ground they built – or I built – a school and a church. The parochial house was a council house – same as anybody else. A semi-detached council house. 

I was happy enough there… it was all I needed. Because it’s not a family home.

I have a priest in the parish newly ordained and he will be with me 5 years this year. He was nearly certain he would have been moved last year – but it didn’t happen. 

But I’m pretty certain he will go this year.

visitors room,  parochial house

I don’t ‘decorate’ the beds – that’s the housekeeper’s  idea.

She comes in three times a week does a bit of cleaning  – and does it very well.

Often visiting priests will come, maybe missionary priests to give a talk. They would stay here.

There are two rooms for them. But visitors who come from America wouldn’t stay in a priest’s house, they’d stay in a normal family home.

priest, doorway, parochial house

My place in Donegal is a lovely place. It’s 2 hours and 20 minutes away – but it is away…  As a priest very important to get out and away… doing something different.

At the weekend I just chill out.

Sunday afternoon to Monday night I put on the most unmentionable rags, corduroy trousers and an oul’ sweater..  tramp about the garden. I have a boat there and I’m tootling with the engine.

It’s just a good escape.…so far away.

Nuala Rooney

I am designer, educator and researcher developing creative and holistic human-centred insights within the social/spatial sphere.

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  1. Very interesting. I like the intimate story telling style.

  2. Thankyou for your comment – very much appreciated.

  3. Margaret (aka Patsy)

    Love the site .

    1. Patsy, Thankyou so much. Very glad you like it.

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