By Sean Ryan - 01 October, 2017
St Nathy’s Cathedral in Ballaghaderreen in County Roscommon will close next month because of a €1-million refurbishment project. Essential construction work on the listed building, which was built in the 1850s, has been planned for several months and it is now finalised. In the parish newsletter, the Diocese of Achonry says the work will commence on 9th October and will take six months.
The Cathedral of The Annunciation and St Nathy will close during the works, with Masses to be held in St Nathy’s College’s chapel and funerals in other churches in the parish. However, the cathedral will open for Christmas and close again in January until Easter. The contract for the refurbishment has been awarded to Kilcawley Construction from Sligo and was signed in the last few days.
Speaking this week to the local radio station Shannonside FM, Father Joseph Gavigan, the Parish Priest of Ballaghaderreen, explained the works being carried out. He said that the renovation of the building will be both internal and external with work to be done on the lighting, heating and ventilation systems, the stained glass windows, pointing of the walls and repairs to the roof. He added that ‘’parts of the roof of the cathedral are leaking so we are going to have those repaired. There is some pointing to be done on the external stonework of the Cathedral as well. Work needs to be done in relation to the lighting and the heating within the building itself. Coupled with this, there is also some lighting to be done on the external car parks as well. About 13 years ago the architects did some investigative work on the Cathedral to see what type of works would be required. We are now absolutely delighted to be in a position to commence the works’’.
The cathedral, built by Cardinal Patrick Durcan, was built in the Gothic style from 1855 and was completed in 1860.
The bell tower of 59.6 metres with a needle and a carillon of bells, was added in 1912 by the project architect, William H. Byrne. Due to its height, the body of the church in grey limestone seems small, but is actually 45.72 metres long, 17.9 metres wide and 20.4 metres high. The interior has a single nave. South of the west door is the baptismal font dating from around 1870.