Pagan church plans Coleraine rituals

Patrick Carberry, who describes himself as a traditional Celtic pagan priest.  INLT 07-676-CON

Patrick Carberry, who describes himself as a traditional Celtic pagan priest. INLT 07-676-CON

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The leader of a pagan church has announced his intention to hold events and rituals in the Coleraine area in the near future.

Patrick Carberry is the Sovereign and Founder of the Order of the Golden River, a pagan church operating primarily in Belfast but who hold events all over Northern Ireland.

The pagan church were afforded legal recognition as Northern Ireland’s first pagan Church and Denomination earlier this year.

Mr Carberry is also registered by the General Register Office to conduct pagan marriages, known in their religion as ‘handfastings’.

He is planning to hold events and rituals in Coleraine in the near future.

“It is more than likely that we will be in Coleraine in the near future,” he told The Coleraine Times this week.

“ I have been exploring the possibility of having rituals in the Coleraine area.

“I have been looking into the different stone circles in that area. It is all about positives and negatives but that is something we are exploring.”

Mr Carberry recently announced his intention to formally establish a branch of the church in Londonderry.

The Order of the Golden River held a workshop in the city during May and Mr Carberry recently took part in a summer solstice event at Grianan of Aileach, a series of stone structures atop a hill just outside County Londonderry thought to have been built in the sixth or seventh century BC.

Speaking of plans for Derry,Mr Carberry explained: “Purely because of the the type of the group we don’t worship in a church premises as such - we are involved with being close to nature - although we do have access to a premises if we need it.

“People have told us that they would love to be part of something in the area so we are responding to that demand. There is already a pagan community in Derry.

“We do expect to gave some resistance to the idea but we are hoping that we won’t have too much of a problem. Our faith is all about bringing people together.

“Paganism has been established in Ireland for a very long time.

“The Order have been working to improve the understanding of our beliefs and gain equal rights for all faiths.

As a result of this work, on March 24, 2015 the Order became recognised as the first ever legally recognised pagan Denomination and Church, in Northern Ireland.

“I am now registered by the General Register Office to conduct Handfastings (pagan marriages) anywhere and at any time in Northern Ireland which are legally recognised under Article 11 of the Marriages (Northern Ireland) Order 2003.”