[Extract from Classical Churches in Ulster by James Stevens Curl, published by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society in 1980.]
...Very much of the genre of St George's is the happy composition of the front of the First Presbyterian Church in Downshire Road, Banbridge, Co Down, of 1846, that consists of a fine Ionic portico and an arrangement of niches and blind panels behind. Hexastyle Doric porticoes on a high podium distinguish John Millar's nobly conceived Portaferry Presbyterian Church, Co Down, of 1841, a building that would not look out of place in Helsinki or in Leningrad. Indeed this marvellous Greek temple is one of the most distinguished neoclassical buildings in Ulster, and is in the first rank of Neoclassical designs in the whole of the British Isles. Another fine prostyle tetrastyle façade with an Ionic Order occurs at Great James Street Presbyterian Church, Londonderry, of 1837, designed by Stewart Gordon with gigantic consoles flanking the steps that lead up to the podium.
Much more common than the prostyle arrangement, however, was an in antis type of front, of which the best are probably the Doric porch of Holy Trinity Church, Kircubbin, Co Down, of 1840; the splendid Castlereagh Presbyterian Church by John Millar of 1834; and Christ Church, College Square North, Belfast, by William Farrell, of 1833. Castlereagh Church was rebuilt in 1834 at a cost of £1,400. The Northern Whig of 16 August 1835 reported that the church was erected 'at a very heavy expense... from a design and under the supervision of' ... 'a talented young townsman, Mr John Millar, Architect, to whom the lovers of classical architecture owe a debt of gratitude'. The Whig critic noted that the building 'pleases the eye and satisfies the taste. It is adorned by a Belfry (the first instance of the kind we know if, in a Presbyterian place of worship in Ireland), whose picturesque appearance, and commanding situation, render it very conspicuous'. The building is certainly most distinguished, with a severe arrangement of two Ionic columns set in antis that recalls Soane at his best, though without some of that great architect's quirky details. Regrettably one of the capitals has recently been ineptly 'restored'.
Other examples of the in antis front with Ionic columns
are found in the pedimented façades of the First Presbyterian
Church at Clough, Co Down, of 1837, a stucco-fronted building
with granite columns, and in Downshire Road Presbyterian Church,
at Newry, Co Down, of 1843. One of the great architectural
oddities is the First Presbyterian Church in Antrim of
1834-7. The conventional blocky pedimented front has a recess
in the centre in which are set two Greek Doric columns with entablatures
that support a segmental arch...
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