Church linked to Boru facing its own battle 1,000 years later
AS the 1,000th anniversary of the death of Ireland's most famous Christina king, Brian Boru, approaches, celebrations are proving bitter-sweet for the small, beleaguered congregation of a church uniquely connected to his famous story.
St. Columba's Church in Swords stands on the site where King Brian Boru was mourned following his tragic death after an historic defeat of Ireland's invaders at the Battle of Clontarf on April 23, 1014.
However, with the Millennial anniversary approaching, its parishioners are now facing their own battle of survival.
Late last year, structural problems caused by a leaking roof forced St. Columba's Church to close its doors to services of Christian worship for the first time in more than two centuries. Historic plasterwork is falling from the building's ceiling and the congregation of almost 200 families – faced with a six-figure bill – have been unable to use the church.
The local minister, Reverend Robert Deane, said: 'It's a massive repair bill and as plans get under way to celebrate Brian Boru's remarkable life and achievements, many in our parish fear that 2014 could also be remembered as the year in which their church had to finally close its doors to its community.'
A number of fundraising events have taken place but more on the cards to raise the funds necessary to repair their celebrated building and re-open its doors to its congregation and the wider community in Swords.
This weekend, Friday to Sunday, April 25 to 27, a bucket collection will take place during the Brian Boru festivities in the park behind Swords Castle to help raise funds. St. Columba's Church committee will set up an information tent in the park handing out flyers and information on the church and the work required to repair the roof.
'We will also be having hourly tours up to the church grounds with local historians Bernadette Marks and David Scott giving the history of the church and Brian Boru,' said David Evans, a member of the fundraising committee.
'The total cost of the repair works is €500,000 but if we can raise €100,000 we can get the ceiling done and open the church on a limited basis later in the year,' he added.
Those interested in donating to the St Columba's Church Restoration Fund can find details at: www.savesaintcolumbaschurch.org