By Louise Roseingrave
A CROSS-community battle to save an iconic church from ruin is culminating in a final push to raise funds.
The historic Christ Church at Kilfaughnabeg in Glandore is nestled in one of the country’s most scenic locations.
Restoration works to date have seen the bell tower repaired, stone work replaced and re-pointed, and electricity installed for the first time in the building’s 150-year history.
Now, with a final €10,000 required to preserve the church’s original windows and paint the interior, the committee behind the project is organising a gala fundraising event.
The Glandore Church of Ireland Restoration Committee is bringing pianist and Professor of Music at the University of Limerick, Mícheál Ó’Súilleabháin, and the Carolan Quartet to St Fachtna’s Cathedral, Rosscarbery on Saturday March 21.
Built in 1860 and consecrated on September 12 1861, the Church of Ireland chapel is accessed through a tunnel cut out of the rock face. Perched overlooking the picturesque bay, it has served a small community of local faithful for 150 years.
But by 2012, the building was falling into a dangerous state of disrepair. It closed as engineers deemed it unsafe due to brickwork damage caused by coastal erosion.The committee of volunteers was established and set about working to secure its future.
Before the current restoration works, the building had never been modernised and functioned without water, heat or electricity.
The restoration committee set about raising €110,000 initially, to repair the bell tower and install electricity. The West Cork Development Partnership grant-aided €100,000 towards the project. The remaining €10,000 required for the first phase was raised through the committee’s ‘Sponsor a Stone’ campaign, and through a series of summer events.
In the spring of 2013, the aging gutters and downpipes were replaced and new drains were installed to secure the chapel from water damage.
Last April, the committee secured €12,000 in funding from the Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme run by Cork County Council, a sum they had to match as part of the grant conditions.
‘This grant covered the cost of the repair of the stonework and the re-pointing which was finished by the end of June.The remaining work left in this second phase is to paint the interior and repair and paint the windows at an estimated cost of €10,000, a sum still to be raised,’ said Averil Cooke of the committee.
Now, thanks to the committee’s commitment and generous donations, the bells ring out once again for 10am service every Sunday during July and August.
It’s hoped, once fully complete, the restored building will house a diverse range of events, opening the church up to the local community while serving also its original and primary function – as a place of prayer.
The gala concert takes place at St Fachtna’s Cathedral in Rosscarbery on March 21 at 8pm. Admission €25, tickets from glandorevillage.ie or call 087-2289458.