BALLYHEIGUE: Our Christian Heritage was described as a fantastic chronicle of parish life for its future generations by Arts and Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan on its launch on Friday night.
A stunning publication with over 200 pages of incisive articles on the history of Christianity in Ballyheigue, it was launched by the Minister to a massive response in the Ballyheigue Community Centre on Friday night - on the eve of the village's famous Pattern which features prominently over the years.
The book was compiled by the Ballyheigue Parish History and Heritage Group under local historian Bryan MacMahon and is the culmination of a lengthy research process that uncovered no end of interesting information about the subject.
"This publication honours the significant role of religion in daily life in times past, as well as celebrating the richness of parish life today," Minister Deenihan said on its launch.
"The book is a compendium of highquality articles, beautifully illustrated, with a comprehensive selection of both historic and current photographs capturing the lives of specific people, places and events in Ballyheigue's past. It stands as a testament to the Christian tradition in Ballyheigue and also records for future generations the pervasive and enduring religious dimensions of daily life."
The Minister said that one of the most impressive aspects of the book is in its educational value; he was particularly fascinated with articles about graveyard inscriptions from the 1700s, records of the Church of Ireland community and St James's Church as well as its biographies of parish priests who ministered over the last 150 years.
"I am certain that this book will be of interest not only to the people of Ballyheigue both at home and abroad but it will be welcomed by the people of the North Kerry hinterland and will serve as an example and a template for other communities to follow," Minister Deenihan added.