St Iberius's bell rings again after 10 years
The St. Iberius Church bell is ringing again in Wexford, having been silent for some 10 years because of dangerously unstable stonework in the bell tower.
Costly restoration works on the protected Church of Ireland building started last September and have now finished. Canon Arthur Minion, who initiated the project, said the repairs cost €97,600.
The historical church, on Wexford's North Main Street, is believed to be an ecclesiastical site dating back to the time of St. Patrick. Conservation Architect Dermot Nolan, from Dublin, and Ciaran Kelly Construction, from the south of the county, carried out the works.
Despite the hefty debt resulting from the project, the Rector and parishioners have opted to avoid visitor admission to the heritage site, preferring community and local business donations. The first of the fundraisers was launched on Easter Sunday with the 'Easter Gift Donation Envelopes', which will remain available at the back of the church until Pentecost Sunday, June 8. Last year's 'Free Will Donations Boxes' at the church brought in a total of €1346.
A number of grants have also been applied for, from both the County Council and the Church of Ireland authorities, amounting to a total of just €15,000, to pay off the repair bill. The Borough Council also provided a grant of €1,000 to the renovation.
'We have avoided visitor admission charges for St Iberius' church. Some of our churches and cathedrals charge in the region of €7 per adult admission for visitors. We would much rather have the support of the community, the town and our public representatives on occasions when we have particular need with the maintenance of this historic building which is in our mind our collective heritage,' Canon Minion said.
A wide range of other events are planned including table quiz evenings, a Monster Autumn Raffle in October, sponsored sport and youth events, as well as concerts, and a 'Fundraising Thermometer' will be placed in the porch of the church.