Parishioners seek support to finish €350,000 renovation of iconic church
IT has been gutted from the inside out. But 'The Blue Church' will retain its 'Marian Blue' exterior when a major renovation project is completed.
Locals are now appealing for help in paying for the restoration work at the 85-year-old wooden church in Kilternan, south Dublin.
Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic church closed in May for extensive restoration and renovations. It is hoped it will be 'back in business' for weddings and christenings from mid-July.
Public relations executive Aileen Eglington is one of the locals with a huge emotional investment in the church, not least because she married her husband Paul there in 1982.
Aileen's grandfather Michael Jordan helped fundraise the stg£3,368 to build the original church and Aideen's late mother Joan was the Sacristan and florist, tending to thousands of weddings while her dad Dick used to cut the grass with Wimbledon-like precision.
"In recent years, the church had some structural problems and these have been solved in a major renovation. There was damage to the wood and the church needed new heating and wiring. The water had got into the plaster so there was a lot of work to be done and four weeks ago, they discovered the roof joists were gone under the tiles so that was another €30,000," said Aileen, who, two generations later, is fundraising like her grandfather did.
"The work has cost €350,000 and over €160,000 has been raised to date, of which €40,000 came from a Race Day in Leopardstown. There have been a lot of cake sales and Christmas cards sold but, as they say, a lot done, a lot more to do.
"Thousands and thousands of couples were married at the Blue Church over the years and if any of them would like to make even a small contribution to the restoration bill, based on their fond memories of the church, it would be very gratefully received," she said.
Fr Andrew O'Sullivan pointed out that it was built as a temporary structure and is now a protected structure.
* Anyone interested in a wedding or christening at the church can contact Sandyford Parish Office (01 2956414), email firstname.lastname@example.org log onto www.sandyfordparish.org