independent

Saturday 20 October 2018

Campaign to save ancient church steps up a gear

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Killaspugbrone Preservation Society will unveil a ten-foot sign, which has been erected at Strandhill beach front, this coming Friday evening. The other smaller sign has been erected at Killaspugbrone church itself. The main sign highlights the position of the church on the existing walking routes. Historical and archeological information is also displayed on the main sign, a

The efforts of a local community group to save a twelfth century Sligo church, which has links to St Patrick, are to intensify this weekend with the unveiling of two specially designed and commissioned interpretive signs.

Killaspugbrone Preservation Society will unveil a ten-foot sign, which has been erected at Strandhill beach front, this coming Friday evening. The other smaller sign has been erected at Killaspugbrone church itself.

The main sign highlights the position of the church on the existing walking routes. Historical and archeological information is also displayed on the main sign, along with images and pictures of the ruin. The smaller sign at the church also displays historical information for visitors and tourists.

Funding for both signs was obtained under the Village Renewal Grant scheme.

These new signs will work in conjunction with finger posts, which were erected on the paths leading to the church. These were part-funded by the Heritage Grant Scheme 2006.

Friday's event is the latest in a ten-year campaign to save the crumbling church, which was founded by a follower of St Patrick, Bishop Bronus.

Since 1997, the society has been campaigning and fundraising to have the 12th century building preserved for future generations.

It was formed after the then youth club re-instigated the annual blessing of the graves ceremony at the site in July of that year. The event highlighted the deterioration that had occurred at the site over several years. Most notably, the boundary wall which protects the cemetery from the sea was allowed fall into precarious ruin. As a result, skeletal remains were washed out from the cemetery, which, it's estimated, contains more than 700 graves.

The cemetery was multi-denominational and was used up until 1961. Several local Strandhill families have relations buried there.

Following the establishment of the preservation society, a feasibility study was carried out which established what works were required to prevent further deterioration of the church and cemetery. Later, funds were secured from Sligo County Council to reinforce the entire boundary wall.

Chairman of the preservation society, Hugh McConville, said next Friday's event is another landmark in the campaign to save the historical ruin: "Given the remote location of Killaspugbrone, most tourists, and indeed several locals, do not know of its existence or importance. These signs will draw attention to the rich history associated with the church. More importantly, it highlights the location of the church on the existing walking routes.

"Killaspugbrone is of hugely historic and cultural importance, Mr McConville continued. Sligo is blessed to have such a noted and valuable historical structure. The preservation society is constantly working towards preserving it for future generations. This has involved promoting awareness of the church, and raising the necessary funds to provide for preservation works to be carried out".

In a further development the preservation society has secured funding under the Heritage Grant Scheme 2007 to send a craftsman on a training course at West Dean, England, on the conservation and repair of masonry ruins. This will enable him to carry out conservation works on the walls of the church. Following this, the society plans to look at ways of further stabilising the structure of the church.



The official unveiling of the new interpretive signs takes place at Strandhill beach front, opposite the Celtic Seaweed Baths, at 6.30 p.m. this Friday, 4 May. This will be followed by a reception at Sligo Airport at 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend, in particular, the local community.







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