This grouping of parishes covers a large geographical area in East County Meath and North County Kildare. It is the largest parish in the Diocese and has experienced a substantial growth in young families moving into the area, owing to the parish’s proximity to Dublin and to the high property prices in the city. The parish comprises three suburban and three rural churches. While each of the suburban churches, St Peter’s in Dunboyne, St Mary’s in Maynooth, and St Seachnall’s in Dunshaughlin would have worship services every Sunday, the rural churches of Rathmolyon, Rathcore and Agher form one congregation and move round the three rural churches.
Only over the past few years Dunboyne Union and Rathmolyon Union Have become a group of churches. The intent was that in March 2004 they might become a union. However at the Easter Vestry it was felt that the parish area was continuing to grow rapidly and that plans for a union should wait until the parish landscape became more clearly defined. For this reason there are at present two Vestries, comprising many strong and gifted members.
This ministry is to be found in Dunboyne, Maynooth and Dunshaughlin. At present there are two hundred households on the parish lists. Church attendance would be fluid but each church has a core of committed parishioners who attend weekly. On average the Sunday congregations would be approximately thirty to forty in Dunshaughlin, fifty to sixty in Maynooth and thirty plus in Dunboyne. Many people come from professional backgrounds and work in Dublin. This provides many challenges in parochial visiting and expectations are high in terms of the conduct of worship and preaching. All-age worship happens once the month and the other services are Holy Communion and Morning Prayer. A new Service of Healing has just recently been introduced and it happens three times every year. Our prayer meetings take place monthly and we also have Bible Study, Lent and Advent Courses throughout the year. For the children there are lively Sunday Clubs as well as Mystery Evenings, and a Summer Holiday Club. Our teenagers have every six weeks or so a teen service and would attend Diocesan Youth Events and Camps. In addition they would have various trips and outings including archery, fishing go-karting and ten pin bowling. The churches are endowed not only with a number of very capable organists but also with the gifts and expertise of many talented parishioners.
The parish is a generous supporter of charities and missionary societies, locally, nationally and internationally. In the last financial year it donated over £12,000 to various charities and organisations. The parish has pastoral links with five nursing homes in the area, each with Church of Ireland residents. Pastoral visits, carol singing and services take place throughout the year in these different homes and create a sense of belonging and fellowship. Ecumenically the three churches have good relationships with other local churches. In Maynooth there are occasionally joint services, like the Ecumenical Christmas Carol Service, the Christian Unity Walk of Light, St Patrick’s Prayer Breakfast and Forums looking at different contemporary topics. In Dunshaughlin and Dunboyne the churches have held joint services during the week of Christian Unity. Currently the Roman Catholic University Chaplain and the Rector organise student lunches once a month in NUI Maynooth and seek to create a meeting place where students can meet each other and make new friends and contacts. Occasionally speakers would come and share about their Christian involvement in charitable organisations at Easter. There are six secondary schools in the area and one Church of Ireland National School. The rector and curate would be involved in assemblies and classwork in the different schools as well as taking special services and organising events.
Rathmolyon village is about fourteen miles west of Dunboyne. Rathcore and Agher would be situated nearly thirty miles from Dunboyne. This is the rural corner of the parish, where almost all of the eighty households on the parish list would be part of the farming community. Regular attendance at Sunday worship would be twenty- five or thirty. While the congregation is relative small, it is very active and supportive. There is the beginnings of some numerical growth with new housing being built in the area.
The Members of the Mother’s Union would be drawn from across the entire parish, but the planning and organising of events would tend to rest with the rural folk. Mother's Union have had various meetings through out the year ranging from reflexology, beauty treatments, fun days to flower arranging.
Ecumenical relations are good, and community links are very strong. Church events like the Christmas Bazaar and Rathcore Barbeque are supported well locally. The Rathmolyon Bowling Club has been sucessful for many years in winning the league.