St Johnston and Carrigans Donegal



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Lecture Hall

The Lecture Hall, Church Lane, St Johnston, on the grounds of St Johnston Presbyterian Church was built in 1894.  It consisted of a Main Hall on the first floor over stables, a coach house and a store used for keeping the oats with which the stabled horses were fed while the owners of the horses worshipped in the nearby Church.

In 1920, a generator was installed in the Lecture Hall to produce electricity for the Church building.

Part of the Main Hall suffered damage during a fire some time later and half of the floor had to be replaced.

The first major change for the building was in 1987.  In that year, the whole inside of the building was removed.  RSJ beams were installed and a new maple floor was laid down on the first level.  This work was undertaken by AnCo Trainees.  A few years later AnCo became FÁS, the Training and Employment Authority.

At the time, the ground level was still used for storage.  Then the Bowling Club began to use it for annual tournaments.  Some people complained that it was like bowling in a ploughed field and the keep fit groups said the rough surface of the floor made them tire prematurely.  It was decided to cover the floor with material more amenable to sporting activities but there was no spring and the floor was still very rough.  The result was a floor of concrete. 

A new floor was created in 2007 made of oak  Now the area is perfect for bowling, meetings and Sunday School.  The funding for this project came through a grant from Donegal County Council's Task Force and funding was obtained from Peace and Reconciliation 2000-2006 (Peace II) and part financed under the National Development Plan operated by the Irish Government.

The management committee of the Lecture Hall held an evening to celebrate the new floor and launch. Garry Martin, Divisional Manager of Community and Enterprise and Ian McCracken spoke at the launch.

Today the Lecture Hall is used for meetings, lectures, concerts, craft fayres, and funeral lunches and many other activities.

On Friday 5th December 2008, an arson and vandalism attack left the Lecture Hall with €30,000 worth of damage.  There had been events in the Hall that Friday evening.  Later that night, the vandals came and broke the chair-lift, smashed five plate glass wired windows and caused severe fabric damage to curtains and the coverings of chairs.  The chair-lift was installed in 2000 under a Millenium grant. Clerk of Session, Mr Ian McCracken of the Presbyterian Church, went to the hall to check the heating and discovered the damage.   

The Sexton's House nearby where Samuel Smith resided was demolished and cleared away in the late nineties to create a brand new car park used by the Church and for Car Boot Sales.