The church of Dromara probably began as an offshoot of the church and monastery of Drornore. In the 6th-10th centuries, the Church in Ireland was organised on monastic lines. There were no parishes as such and each area was administered spiritually from the local monastery. It is assumed that the church of Dromara was sited on the banks of the River Lagan at or near the spot where the Church of Ireland, St. John's Church, stands. The original church, with probably a small monastic settlement, may have stood within the graveyard where there is in part a semicircular rampart. Early churches were often erected with such a circular rampart.
Two conditions for Irish foundations, however small, were i) to be located in good pasture land, and ii) near an abundant supply of water. These two conditions existed here. In fact the good quality of pasture is evidenced by the very name Dromara, from the Irish `Droim Bearach' - the hill of the heifers.
As time went on the monastic organisation of the Irish Church changed and parishes, more or less as we know them today, were formed. This development resulted from the decisions reached at a number of National Synods held in Ireland in the 12th century. The first written reference to Dromara occurs in the official Ecclesiastical Taxation document of 1306. A list of all parishes in the diocese was included and Dromara parish was referred to as the `Church of Drumberra.'
From a History of Dromore Past & Present by Dean Anthony Davies