The parish church for Ferbane was situated in the townland of Wheery on the right bank of the river Brosna a few miles upstream from the town, in the early years of the eighteenth century. From sometime in the 1720's until around 1760 Mass was celebrated in secret locations since the Penal laws were in force. Then a small thatched penal chapel on the Ballycumber Road, formerly known as Old Chapel Lane became the place of worship for the Catholic faithful.
Among the priests who ministered in this penal church were John Dillon, Felix McHugh and Patrick O'Farrell. It was Fr. O'Farrell, who acquired the plot known as Lilly's Park, owned by George Jessop, on which he had a new church built in 1820. This building survived into the 1890'5 when Canon Patrick Sheridan erected the present church on the same site, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The church was extended in 1898, and major renovations were carried out in 1976.
The following description of the building is an extract from the National Inventory of Architecural Heritage (www.buildingsofireland.ie)
Detached cruciform Roman Catholic church, built c.1820 with extensive renovations in 1896 by architect William Hague. Two-stage tower with broach spire to south side. Four-bay entrance extension added to western gable. Set within its own yard. Pitched tiled roof with tooled stone coping and cross finial to gables. Pebbledash render to walls with tooled stone quoins and buttresses. Roughcast render and tooled limestone quoins to lowest stage of tower. Ashlar limestone to belfry and spire, surmounted by wrought-iron cross. Pointed-arched window openings to nave and transept with tooled stone surrounds, stone sills and stained glass windows. Pointed-arched eastern window opening with stone mullions forming five lancets and stained glass. Rose window with tooled stone surround to original gable end at west. Trefoil-headed lancet openings to tower and lucarnes of spire with tooled stone surround. Pointed-arched openings to belfry with tooled stone surround, hoodmouldings and cast-iron bell. Original entranceway blocked off, replaced by pointed-arched door opening with tooled stone surround and replacement timber door. Oculus to entranceway.
Originally built in 1820 and later reworked in 1896, this church is a composite of building phases and decoration. As a result it has a distinctive architectural character. Its most notable element is the attractive bell tower, which is slender and finely executed. As a centre of divine worship and a focal point for many of Ferbane's inhabitants, The Immaculate Conception Church holds a significant position within the community.