About

Ards Friary  a Spiritual Centre

Ards has an exciting programme of retreats. In a world which aims to excel the material wealth, the spiritual is often left to decay. It is this void in our lives, that often leaves us empty and distanced from Jesus.

As a spiritual centre, set in 200 acres of grounds on the edge of the beach, it is a place where one can find God, in the innermost recesses of ones being. To share time, reflect and allow for prayer in these magnificent settings lends to the natural cycle of finding a loving and caring God.

The Friary aims to welcome everyone and is available throughout the year for Retreats (preached, directed, private etc) Conferences, Seminars, Periods of Rest and Relaxation, Reflection, Prayer and Holidays.

We all need to take time out from the hectic and stress filled lives we lead so as to refocus on what is really important to us. We complicate our lives and Ards helps us to simplify things, so that God can speak to us and we can listen to Him.

Our Mission Statement

In the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, Ards Friary offers peace and quiet in surroundings of enchanting natural beauty, where we can come closer to God.

We aim to share our Christian Faith through prayerful, reflective and informative retreats and conferences.

We promote Justice, Peace and Reconciliation.

We strive to raise awareness of ecological issues, through training, education and respect for our sister, mother earth (St. Francis).

Why not let Ards become a part of your life today!

Ards Friary is a spiritual centre, set in 200 acres of grounds on the edge of the beach, it is a place where one can find God, in the innermost recesses of ones being - County Donegal Ireland

St. Francis preached to the birds,  calling them 'noble' among God's creatures, Ards Friary is under joint management with the Capuchin Franciscans

History

It was the end of an era. The Franciscan Capuchins of Ards Friary in Donegal, at the end of 2006 had decided to close down the retreat and conferencing aspect of the Friary, due in the most part to their declining numbers and age. It was to be a very sad loss. Ards had for many years been a place of sanctuary, a place to recharge and gain life direction through prayer and reflection, a centre where one could find Our Lord Jesus Christ. A little piece of heaven. Thank God, it was not to close.

Working Party Established to Save Ards Friary

Through the intervention of Bishop Philip Boyce, Bishop of the Diocese of Raphoe, a working party was quickly established to discuss how the centre could be kept open. With the full support of Bishop Boyce, the Friary Guardian Fr Eustace McSweeney (now in Raheny, Dublin) and the Capuchin Provincial at the time, Fr Terrance Harrington, a working agreement was reached. The Diocese of Raphoe would actively support a joint venture between Secular and Religious.

Board of Management & Fund Raising

A Board of Management was appointed, comprising of laity and clergy; Patrick J Doherty (Chairperson), Fr McSweeney Cap OFM, Fr Michael Sweeney, Mary Murry and Charlie Bonner. Benito Colangelo was then asked to take on the new venture as centre manager and made headway with the first project for Ards Friary, of totally gutting the existent kitchen and replacing it with a new one which would meet Environmental Health regulations. The cost of this project was €101,000 and was met by the Diocese of Raphoe with the promise of the Board to raise the sum by way of fundraising. By the sheer generosity of the people here and in the USA the total cost has been raised. For this we are grateful and thank everyone that gave support to the project.

Ards Friary Operational Again

With Ards now considered operational, Sr Veitraud (Sr Clare) of the Sisters of the Spiritual Family The Work FSO, an Austrian Religious Order, whose founder was Mother Julia Verhaeghe, flew over from Austria to help show us the ropes, and stayed with us for two weeks. The Sisters used to come to the Friary every year to run the Centre and had ceased to do so when they were told it would close. A programme of retreats for 2007 was quickly drafted and posted out along with an accompanying letter explaining that we were not closed but very much alive. Retreatants returned and Conferences commenced and the atmosphere around the Friary became elevated and vibrant.

After the Capuchin Chapter in 2010, Fr Donal Sweeny moved to the Friary in Kilkenny and Fr Silvester O'Flynn was appointed as Guardian.

More Renovations and Sustainability

Renovations continued and in 2013, the Friary replaced its oil heating system with a wood chip biomass machine, installed new piping, radiators, windows, wifi, electrics and lighting, all on the ground floor. This venture was achieved with assistance from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the Capuchin Friars and the Diocese of Raphoe.
To share time, reflect and allow for prayer in these magnificent settings lends to the natural cycle of finding a loving and caring God - Ards Friary, County Donegal, Ireland

Ards Friary Retreat and Conference Centre, Creeslough, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland.
Tel / Fax: +353 (0)74 913 8909 Email: info@ardsfriary.ie
Retreats (preached, directed, private), Conferences, Seminars, periods of rest and relaxation, reflection, prayer and holidays