A church that was badly damaged by fire last year is set to re-open its doors thanks to the hard work and dedication of the local community.
Sacred Heart Church in Huntstown had been a focal point for the past 14 years before being ravaged by the blaze in June of last year.
Parish priest Father George Begley and his parishioners were devastated by the event, which Archbishop Diarmuid Martin – who visited the site to show support for parishioners in the wake of the fire – described as “a very sad day for all”.
But thanks in part to the help of volunteers, the church has now been completely refurbished and is set to open its doors again soon.
“The local people of Huntstown and the adjoining parishes stood up to the mark,” said a spokesperson for the church.
“Whether it was to help with salvaging furniture and cleaning or making a cup of tea, they helped in many ways.
“Father George recognised these deeds of good will and he admits that the goodness of people kept him buoyant during those dark days.”
The spokesperson added that there was great excitement in the air at the prospect of the church re-opening.
“The badly damaged roof and fittings have been repaired,” he said.
“The new carpet is down and there is a smell of fresh paint in the air.
“There is a buzz in the local community for the grand opening in the coming weeks.
“Father George feels it is worth acknowledging so many people, whether it’s the local fire service, the gardai or the parish committee.
“Everyone has played their part. The local primary school, Sacred Heart of Jesus, have accommodated the parish office and have provided the use of their hall and meeting rooms to accommodate weekly mass and the various parish meetings that need to take place.
“Again, the sense of community was a positive that kept everyone afloat over the past year.”
Plans for a grand opening ceremony are in the works, where the church hope to acknowledge everybody who helped in the refurbishment efforts.