Wednesday 31 May 2017

Heritage Council Funding 2017

West wall of the transept. Note where the roots have displaced the stone work.
The Killybegs History and Heritage Committee have secured a grant of €9000 from the Heritage Council. This funding will be used to conserve the west wall of the transept gable.  The conservation works will consist of the removal of the large tree trunks and roots from the wall tops and then the consolidation of the walls using approved techniques and materials.

The conservation of St Catherine's Church has been ongoing for many years and will take a number of years yet to complete.  Conservation works on the are complex due to the large tree and root systems that are present in almost every wall. These tree and root systems are slowly destroying the walls and have to be carefully removed and then masonry repairs can carried out to consolidate them.

The Killybegs History and Heritage Committee would like to acknowledge the continued support of the Heritage Council in the ongoing conservation of St Catherine's Church.

Thursday 24 November 2016

Conservation Works 2016 - Complete

Our conservation works for 2016 are now complete.  The inside of the church has been cleared of loose material and a Geo textile membrane has been laid to suppress vegetation regrowth.  This has been covered with a layer of crushed stone.  This will allow much easier access to the church and allow us to continue with our conservation programme.

Transporting the stone to the site was a very labour intensive job and required many days of hard work.  It is great to see St Catherine's Church benefit from these very necessary conservation works.  There are still a number of years work required to ensure that this most historic of structures will be there for future generations to enjoy and learn from!

Chancel and Nave

View of nave and chancel from the west door

View of Transept

Another view of Transept
We would like to thank the Heritage Council for its continued support of the conservation of St Catherine's Church, Murray Landscaping for their diligence and hard work, John Cronin & Associates and also to the Killybegs Community for its support. 

Go raibh mile maith agat

Wednesday 31 August 2016

Heritage Week 2016

The Killybegs History and Heritage Committee hosted two events for this years Heritage Week.  Heritage Week is an initiative of the Heritage Council to showcase local heritage all around the country.  Each year Donegal has one of the largest programme of events in the country.  The Donegal Heritage Office publishes a booklet each year detailing all the events.

 Our first event was held on the 20th August with Derek Vial leading a walk along the old famine road and a visit to a famine graveyard.  Derek then took the group to St Catherine's Church to see the current conservation works taking place.  This event was well attended and thankfully the weather was perfect.

The old Famine Road

A visit to see the conservation works at St Catherine's Church

Our second event was a talk by the former president of the Donegal Historical Society and noted local historian Helen Meehan on Killybegs in 1916.

Killybegs 1916: a full house!

Helen Meehan and Tony O Callaghan
There was a full house for this event and Helen Meehan as usual, gave an excellent and knowledgeable talk.

Friday 29 July 2016

Architectural Fragments discovered during works

A number of interesting fragments have been found during the conservation works in St Catherine's Church.  Each new fragment that is discovered adds to our knowledge of the history of the church.

Possible red clay floor tiles
A number of fragments of possible red clay floor tiles were found inside the church.  The two pieces at the bottom of the picture fit together and allows us to measure the width of the tiles, which is 220mm wide and approximately 30mm thick.  What date for these tiles is not known.  In 1733 the church was described as in good order, seated and the altar and aisle flagged with stone.  Could these tiles be earlier?

Carved stone - possible part of a medieval window arch
A carved stone that could possibly be part of a window arch (voussoir) dating from the medieval era.  If you look closely at the top of the stone in the picture above and below you can see the chisel marks left by the stone mason hundreds of years ago.

View showing angled profile, note the chisel marks!
Loose material removed from church
Murray Landscaping have removed the majority of the loose material from inside the church.  Any material embedded in the floor was left as digging inside a historic site such as this is not allowed.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

2016 Conservation Works - St Catherine's Church

The conservation works on St Catherine's Church has begun!  Murray Landscaping began clearing out the interior of the church with the supervision of archaeologist Martin McGonigle of John Cronan & Associates.
Beginning the clearing.

  All loose stones from inside the church are being lifted and taken to agreed location in the graveyard and will be reused during further conservation works.
The large tree stump that was removed from the top of the wall during conservation works in 2015.

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Heritage Council Funding Conservation Works 2016

The Killybegs History and Heritage Committee have secured a grant of €7000 from the Heritage Council. This funding will be used to clean the interior of the St Catherine's Church and lay down a Geo-textile barrier which will be covered by a layer of gravel stones.  This work will allow us create better access for further conservation works on the walls. 

The Killybegs History and Heritage Committee would like to acknowledge the continued support of the Heritage Council in the ongoing conservation of St Catherine's Church.

Interior of the chancel and nave

Interior of the transept

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Killybegs Graveyards Website

The Killybegs Local Training Initiative have been working on developing a website that contains the details of every grave in Killybegs' three graveyards, St Catherine's, St John's and the large graveyard on the Shore road (Killybegs Graveyard).  This represents a huge amount of painstaking work carried out by trainees who attend the LTI.

Every grave can found using the search feature on the website and at present St Catherine's and St John's memorials can be explored using an interactive map. A map for Killybegs Graveyard is in progress (over 600 graves).

This site is very useful for both genealogical and historical research.  It is also useful for people from Killybegs who are living in distant parts.

Each grave has its own page and contains a photograph with a zoom feature, the inscription on the memorial and details regarding stone type and decoration etc. 

Below is an example of a page on the website - the grave is of the Hamilton family in St Johns Church.

Detail of page on the website

 The site is a work in progress but the almost all the graves are accessible through the website.  

If you come across any mistake you can contact us at the Killybegs LTI and we will correct any errors immediately.

You can contact us at or 074 9741903.