Tricky job in safe hands
HARD-WORKING VOLUNTEERS RESTORING DOWTH CHURCH
HOW OFTEN I've watched buildings crumble away, with very little true regard for them.
There are countless examples all over the area and there's one or two that will be featured shortly.
But this week I start with some good news.
A few months ago I was out at the John Boyle O'Reilly memorial event at Dowth and, at the time, repair work was just starting on the old church.
By the end of the year all the work will be completed and this magnificent old church will have been preserved forever.
A team of volunteers are behind it and I can only say I am in awe of what they have achieved.
Walls and the bell tower have been repaired and during the renovations a gravestone was discovered, dating from the 1690s.
The project was organised with militarystyle planning with the OPW onside with the various elements.
Remarkably, the idea for restoring the walls dates back 25 years when Fred Mooney started it off, while Mickey Smith was another dedicated volunteer down the years.
The original church was built in two sections and the memorial to Boyle O'Reilly rests on one of the main walls.
I had a look at the project plans and how the whole thing has moved on in recent months is incredible. Some of the walls were simply crumbling away but expert advice from the likes of Victor Buckley, senior archaeologist, and Thomas Brennan, conservation architect, pointed everyone in the right direction.
At times the work has been painstaking, leading to sore knees and fingers, but it's been all worth it.
The committee behind it wish to thank Jim and Carmel Flynn for their financial help and ongoing assistance and the families of those buried in Dowth who made vital contributions to the project.
While fundraising has been good, they need a push to make it over the line and any further assistance would be appreciated.