Church devastated by Storm Ophelia will take at least four months to repair
A church devastated by Storm Ophelia will take at least four months to repair.
The tightknit community of Kilcorney in north Cork are now coming to terms with the fact Christmas ceremonies will likely have to be celebrated in the local community centre rather than Kilcorney Church.
One-third of the Kilcorney Church roof was ripped off at the height of the storm.
Incredibly, the heavy roof beams and tiles were scattered to both sides of the church building - and did cause major interior damage.
The main church ceiling is still largely intact.
It is feared that the damage could cost several hundred thousand Euro to repair.
Parish Priest Fr William Winter said while locals were shocked by the damage to the church, they were "very thankful" that no one was hurt locally during the storm.
Fr Winter had used local Masses on Sunday to prove for the safety of the local community and local livestock.
The only major damage sustained in the community was to the church building.
Kilcorney Parish Council member Pat Sheehan said the fear is that the damage could be exacerbated by the weather over coming days.
"The roof thankfully wasn't blown down inside - it was blown to both sides of the church," he said.
But Mr Sheehan said locals were worried that if heavy rain came through the gaping hole in the church roof, interior ceilings could then collapse.
The damage is being assessed by engineers and roofing specialists but the belief is that repairs will take well into 2018 to complete.
"It certainly doesn't look like it will be done by Christmas," he said.
However, the tightknit community has vowed to transfer the local community centre and make it the festive hub of the area until the church is repaired.