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Drogheda Dominicans clear the decks for 140th anniversary

By Cian Molloy - 15 January, 2018

There will be even bigger celebrations by Drogheda's Dominicans in six years time when the order will celebrate 800 years of ministry on the banks of the Boyne

In most places they like to roll out the red carpet for special occasions, but not at the Dominican Church in Drogheda, where they will be rolling up the carpet as part of  the 140th anniversary celebrations at St Magdalen’s Church.

Last year saw a major fundraising effort by parishioners and the wider Drogheda community, to restore St Magdalen’s after $80,000 was needed to repair leaks in the roof. Indeed, the building is still drying out, so repainting has been delayed until later this year.

However, works will be completed by September in time for celebrations marking the 140th anniversary of the first Mass being celebrated in the ‘New Dominican Church’ in 1878.  It was called the new church, because the Dominican Order had long been present on the banks of the Boyne before that; in fact, in six years time the Order of Preachers will be staging a much bigger celebration when they mark having a presence in Drogheda for a full 800 years.

Meanwhile, the carpets in the aisles are being removed to expose the original flooring. There is a good reason for clearing the decks, says parish priest Fr Jim Dunleavy, “We believe there are mosaics under the carpet and it will be another great moment when we unveil them.”

While renovation works have continued it has been business as usual, he says, or even more than usual because attendance at Masses this Christmas at St Magdalen’s was higher than in previous years.

Of course, fundraising activities continue. A big scheduled event is a concert in aid of St Magdalen’s on Sunday 1st April at the Westcourt Hotel, featuring 1993 Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh.

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