A community-based project to save the Medieval Church at Kilmanman near Clonaslee has had a very successful first stage, with the help of funding from the Creative Ireland Laois Programme.
Fears for the survival of the medieval church ruins had been raised by members of the local graveyard committee, and assistance was sought from the Culture Team at Laois County Council.
Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer with Laois County Council said “The Medieval Church at Kilmanman is part of the rich heritage of the site, which we believe goes back to early Christian times and the survival of the church is so important to the people of this area, as can be seen by the huge number of community volunteers involved this year.
The church was in a very fragile state, so conservation work to stabilise it was urgent”.
The conservation project was supported by Clonaslee Community Development Association, and a group of local residents.
Technical advice was provided by Mountmellick-based Archaeologist Colm Flynn, and experienced conservation engineer, Aoife Murphy, working for David Kelly Partnership.
As the site is so sensitive, permission for the works was sought from the National Monuments Service of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and conservation work was carried out by stonemason Jethro Sheen.
Speaking at the site this week, Muireann Ní Chonaill, Arts Officer with Laois County Council and Creative Ireland Co-ordinator for Laois said: “This church and graveyard are clearly so important to the local community, they really encompass everything we mean by a Sense of Place, and we were delighted that the Creative Ireland programme in Laois was able to support the valuable conservation work here this year”.
It is hoped that work will continue at Kilmanman next year to stabilise the east gable with its fine tracery window and the west gable with the remains of the bell-cote.
The conservation work at Kilmanman was supported by Creative Ireland Laois, as part of the Creative Ireland Programme in partnership with Laois County Council.