Historical photo of church

established 1841

the church

The Presbytery of Bangor, in 1839, first makes reference to a worshipping Presbyterian community in Groomsport. The Presbytery minute reports that Rev William Patterson of Second Bangor (Trinity) had been preaching in the village once a month but with assistance from the ministers from Donaghadee and Ballygrainey preaching would be supplied more frequently.

In 1840, the Presbytery of Bangor established a “Preaching Station” in the village. Then in 1841 the Presbytery granted the request for the establishment of Groomsport Presbyterian Church, with around 150 subscribers. The first recorded meeting place was in 17 Main Street, in the home of James Kennedy. On 10th August 1841, the first Minister, Rev Isaac Mack was ordained in a marquee on the “Holme Field”.

Groomsport Presbyterian Church took possession of the current church site on 28th June 1841. The meeting house was built within a couple of years of Rev Mack’s ordination, with the tower and clock gifted and erected in 1863. Further extensions and alterations were made to the church building in 1970/71 and subsequently in 1990/91, reopening in its present form in the church’s 150th anniversary year.

Historical photo of church

our ministers

Since the establishment of the church in 1841, nine ministers have been called to serve in Groomsport Presbyterian Church.

  • Rev Issac Mack 1841-1877
  • Rev James Latimer 1877-1899
  • Rev Joseph Moorhead 1900-1903
  • Rev James Mulligan 1904-1911
  • Rev John Legate 1911-1921
  • Rev Walter Nelson 1922-1965
  • Rev Dr David C Irwin 1966-1991
  • Rev Dr D Roger Purce 1992-2016
  • Rev Paul T Dalzell 2017-present

church records

Today the congregation consists of around 240 families, with a few of these families having ancestral links to the founding members of 1841. Today some church members live locally in the village but many are drawn from beyond the village boundaries.

If you are interested in family ancestry research our church records may help you in your search.

The earliest records of Baptisms and Marriages in Groomsport Presbyterian Church are held by PRONI on microfilm format. They are available to view on a personal visit to the Public Records Office NI (PRONI).



Cockle row

Groomsport is historically a fishing village with a harbour dating back to Viking times. Cockle Row Cottages, at the heart of the village are a reminder of this fishing heritage. One of the cottages is restored to illustrate the life of a fisherman’s family in the last century. Cockle Row is now a tourist centre which opens seasonally for visitors to explore.

In the last century Groomsport was a popular summer holiday destination for many when there were two caravan sites on the edge of the village and village homes were often rented to summer guests.

Today we continue to welcome many visitors to our village. We welcome all visitors to come and join us in our church worship and activities during their visit to our beautiful corner of Northern Ireland.

Cockle row
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links with usa

eagle wing

Groomsport Village and Presbyterian Church has long standing links with America. As far back as 1636 the Eagle Wing sailed from the village for the New World with 140 Presbyterians on board. Although the Eagle Wing did not make her destination, our congregation maintains strong links with the USA. For many years we were partners with Princeton Theological Seminary.

Groomsport was an international field education site of the seminary’s field education programme. Interns joined our ministry team for a year with our ministers providing supervision in the practice of ministry in a congregation. Between1986 and 2020, 22 interns spent a year in Groomsport.

We continue to follow the lives and careers of our former interns and often enjoy welcoming them with their families and friends as they return to visit and reconnect.