Members of the Donegal group of parishes were ‘all at sea’ on Saturday evening in their efforts to raise money for their ‘Save our Spire’ campaign.
More than 130 parishioners and friends defied a less than benign weather forecast and braved the steady, mid-August mizzle for a two-hour cruise onboard the Donegal Bay waterbus.
A few hardy souls donned wet weather gear and went ‘up top’, onto the upper deck, to admire the passing scenery and catch sight of the occasional, curious seal. The bulk of the passengers remained under cover, though, completing the cruise in style and comfort on the much drier lower deck, with its well-appointed bar and refreshments.
Passengers paid €20 a head for the trip, although if they had known their Rector, the Archdeacon of Raphoe, Ven. David Huss, was going to assume control of the steering briefly, they might have been less inclined to climb aboard.
All proceeds of the Waterbus Fundraiser will go towards the ‘Save our Spire’ campaign, which is nearing completion. “We haven't raised all the money we need, yet, but we are making tremendous progress, Archdeacon Huss said. "The spire has been completely repointed, now, and the tower has almost finished receiving the same treatment. The restoration should be complete by the end of September or October, at which point we’ll have a service of thanksgiving and rededication.
“The professional cleaning – using a high-temperature, low-pressure system – has brought out the lovely colours of the original Mountcharles sandstone,” the Rector said, “and we’re pleased we’ve been able to source replacement stone to repair the most worn-out sections.” The worst of these is the Church entrance, which is being completely rebuilt. “This will be the last major stage of the work,” the Rector said, “and will bring the Church’s main entrance back to its former glory.”
People will be able to see the progress to date when the Church joins countless other public buildings around the Republic of Ireland in opening their doors on Heritage Open Day on Sunday 26th August. Donegal Parish Church will be staffed from 2-4pm that Sunday and visitors will be very welcome. There will be no entrance charge but any donations will be received gratefully.