700-year-old church open for Heritage Week

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

THE new Church of Ireland rector in Adare, Rev Gary Paulsen is determined to do his bit for Heritage Week which begins this Sunday, August 21 and runs until August 28.

THE new Church of Ireland rector in Adare, Rev Gary Paulsen is determined to do his bit for Heritage Week which begins this Sunday, August 21 and runs until August 28.

And he has issued an open invitation – and extended a warm welcome – to members of the public to visit St Nicholas Church which will be open each day throughout Heritage Week.

The centuries-old church, known as the Black Abbey is a well-known and highly recognisable landmark on the banks of Maigue – located at the picturesque bridge on the edge of the village.

Now, as the church and its parishioners prepare to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the founding of the church in 1315, it is to undergo restoration.

The church complex began life as an Augustinian Abbey – one of a triad of medieval ecclesiastical buildings to grace Adare along with the 14th century Desmond Castle. It is currently home to the Church of Ireland.

Rev Paulsen, the newly installed rector of Adare, revealed this week that the Adare parish, with the financial support and assistance of the Heritage Council are soon to commence the first phase of a major conservation project to protect and restore the building to its former glory, in time for the 700th Celebrations of its foundation in 2015.

During Heritage Week, the church will be open daily between 9am to 6pm. “A visit to St Nicholas Church is a place of great interest and spirituality, a place of great history and beauty, and a reminder of our cultural and spiritual heritage” Rev Paulsen said.

There are many interesting things to see including the fine stained glass windows and church’s signature carvings. The visitor may also have the see to hear the beauty of an early 20th century organ or to view the adjoining 15th century Cloisters where the friars spent many hours in contemplation and devotion. The Dunraven Mausoleum located within in the 15th Century Cloister complex houses the historical remains of generations of the members of the Dunraven family.

A visit to St Nicholas Church, and the many other attractions of Adare, is a must says Rev Paulsen and “the parish of Adare invites you to participate in this exciting venture, and to take part in this important National Heritage Week’s event.