Res­i­dents sup­port restora­tion drive

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - KINSALE - Joe Der­mody

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.

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