The restoration project currently underway in Holy Trinity Abbey Church has caught the imagination of both locals and visitors alike. In the challenging economic times that we live in, it takes courage to undertake a project of this magnitude but then this is no ordinary initiative.
Holy Trinity Abbey Church is part of our heritage here in Adare – we view it with pride and gratitude. There is no record of the precise date of the foundation, the only Trinitarian Abbey in Ireland, but sources suggest that it was established between 1230 and 1240. Dissolved in 1560’s, the Abbey eventually became a ruin. In 1809 the 2nd Earl of Dunraven restored the ruins of the Trinitarian Abbey and gave it to the Catholic Church in Adare. No major structural changes have taken place since 1884 though several modifications and much development have happened during that time. A major programme of critical repairs and elective works, was commenced in Summer 2010 to preserve this treasure in our midst. In 2011, the bicentennial anniversary of the church will be held when we will celebrate that we had the courage both to ensure the viability of the building and enhance the beauty of this place of worship, for future generations.
Work on the roof and external wall works constitute a significant part of the restoration project. A major portion of the roof had to be stripped and re-slated. Necessary repair work and re-pointing of all parapets and barge copings were completed as was the replacement of all lead valleys and gutters, along with associated works to valley structure. Roof timbers were chemically treated during roof repair. The lead roof of the Bell Tower was replaced where necessary. With regard to the external walls, major areas which were problematic had joints in the stonework raked out. Re-pointing was done with a natural hydraulic lime mortar which will stand the test of time. Joints in the cut-stone surrounds of windows and doors were also raked and re- pointed. Storm glazing of the windows, notably on the western elevation, was replaced where necessary.
Electrical work also fell within the category of critical works. A total re-wiring was needed to comply with safety regulations. The church now has an up-graded digitally-operated sound system – incorporating a centre aisle loop system, compatible with hearing aids. New general lighting was installed together with the provision of feature lighting, special lighting for liturgical events and external lighting. Emergency lighting, a fire-alarm, an intruder alarm and cctv were also installed. All these improvements meet the needs of our times and will undoubtedly make our church a nicer and a safer place.
Many elective works which enhance Holy Trinity Church as a place of worship, are included in this restoration project. These include wheelchair access at both doors and a new entrance screen to reduce draughts and ease access. The baptismal font is now more user- friendly, following a slight lowering and central positioning. The altar platform is re-designed and extended, again taking cognisance of the need for safety and practicality in its usage. New confession/reconciliation rooms are constructed and some statues beautify the church where the confessional boxes were formerly located. Better usage of the sacristy is ensured by the construction of an upstairs area, which relieves congestion, facilitates storage and houses electrical control units. The Lady Chapel has been restored and refurbished to help us to reflect with Mary on the Word of God. The installation of a dividing screen in this area facilitates multiple uses of this sacred space.
All in all, the project was an ambitious one. The work had to be carried out under the strict guidelines of the Planning Conservation Office because of the antiquity of the building and its heritage status. The quality of workmanship throughout, is excellent. The restoration work was necessary and costly – it takes sustained, colossal commitment to raise €1.2 million. To-date the funds amount to €611,000. €400,000 of this was saved by the parish over the last 15 to 20 years and a further €211,000 has been collected since the commencement of the project in July 2010. The goodwill, support and generosity shown by so many parishioners and friends of Holy Trinity Church is most encouraging. Several fund-raising initiatives have already been undertaken and many more are planned for this year. No doubt, the active involvement of the local community will once again be forthcoming.
Why not spend a short while flicking though our online booklet about the history and restoration of the Church
Holy Trinity Abbey Church has a unique past – we want to give it a glorious future. All contributions or offers of help will be welcomed by Fr. Joe Noonan, PP through the parish office at (061) 396 172 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org