Ards House was built in 1708, by the Wray's whose family came from
Yorkshire, England. In 1780 they sold the House and Land to the Stewart's,
later known as the Stewart Bams.
In 1930 the old mansion, Ards House was taken over by the Capuchin Franciscan Order, and the name was changed to Ard Mhuire. In January .1931 this became the Novitiate and Theological Seminary.
After 35 years it became evident that the house was too small for the growing number of students and in the 1950,s plans to extend the building were abandoned for a new Friary. The new friary was opened on Sunday, 13th November, 1966 by Bishop Anthony Mac Feely. Present also were Capuchins from the USA, Zambia, South Africa, New Zeland. Fr. Conrad reckoned that 80% of all Irish Capuchins, at home and abroad had studied at Ards. 192 students were ordained to the priesthood in Ards.
In 2004, the Capuchins still grace us with their presence, their daily Mass for the public in the Oratory. Confessions are heard thoughout the day - 7 days a week and priests are always available. The altar and fittings for the sancturay of the Oratory are made from larchwood from the local forest. Many of the local people regularly attend Sunday Masses here and enjoy visiting.
The well stocked Religious goods shop is under the watchful eye of Bro. Edward Dunne (Dunne Store!). Enclosed retreats for priests, religious and laity are held regularly. The Friary is also used for seminars and conferences. During the summer it is open as a holiday house for religious and clergy.
Fr. Pacificus Jennings OFMC Funeal Mass and interment in Ards Friary plot. 2006/03/21.
Fr. Mark Coyle Capuchin Ards Funeal Mass and interment in Ards Friary plot. 2010/06/14.
Fr. Mark(Letterkenny)1928 - 2010. was the only Donegal man in the Capuchin Franciscan's order.
Correction !!!! it says Fr Mark Coyle was the only Donegal man in the Capuchin order. What about Fr Thomas Rocks was'nt he from Ramelton. Sincerely Tony Lynch.