Residents support restoration drive
Kinsale residents have already contributed around € 160,000 of the € 550,000 needed to restore the town’s historic Carmelite Friary to its original glory.
A little over a year into their drive, the fundraising committee’s ef forts to restore the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel are hugely appreciated.
“The people have been exceptionally generous,” said Fr Stan Hession, one of the Carmelite Friars based in the historic church. “The community is very active and involved with the Mass and our other daily services.”
The Carmelite Friars have been in Kinsale since 1334, and on their present site since the 1630s. Built as a direct response to Ireland’s Famine, construction of the church and friary began in the 1840s and finished in the 1880s.
“There was a social reason as well as a religious reason for building the church,” said Fr Stan. “It created a lot of work for local Christians.”
The Famine Relief Board responded to the Friars’ initiative and local people were also employed building the road from Kinsale to Bandon in the dark years that followed the Famine.
While visitors are always impressed by the original stonework, some of the water-damaged features are in serious need of repair. Initial efforts have focused on making the structures watertight.
“The old features are on the Bandon Road side,” said Fr Stan. “Some parts of the building are very impressive, but I was only telling a friend the other night that other part’s look a bit like a piebald pony; there are parts that definitely need attention.”
The fascinating story of the Carmelite Order’s history in Kinsale can be found on the Friary’s website.
The impressive altar and stained glass in the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Order of the Carmelites, in Kinsale.