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Friday, 21 August 2015

Letterkenny: St Eunan's Cathedral and Conwal Parish Church


However you approach Letterkenny – from Derry in the east, Gweedore and Glenties in the west, Fanad and Falcarragh in the north or Donegal and Ballybofey in the south – the tall spire of St. Eunan’s Cathedral greets you.

This beautifully-proportioned building was completed, not in the fourteenth century, but in the twentieth and that there were only eleven years between the formation of the Cathedral Building Committee in 1890, by the then Bishop of Raphoe – later Cardinal O’Donnell, whose statue stands just left of the main porch and the dedication and opening of the Cathedral in 1901.

The Cathedral, designed by William Hague F.R.I.A., of Dublin, is built of white Mountcharles stone. The building contractor (for the first five years) was James McClay of Strabane. The carving contractors were Messrs Purdy and Millard of Belfast. Because of geological features of the site it was not possible to orient the church in the traditional manner i.e., with the altar at the east end. The internal measurements are as follows: length 171 feet; width at transepts 100 feet; roof height 72 feet; spire 240 feet.

Opposite the Cathedral is Conwal Parish Church, a Church of Ireland church which dates back to the 17th century. The building is believed to have been constructed when a church located at Conwal, not far from Churchill fell into ruins. The church is rubble built with an ashlar spire. The interior retains its early 19th century cast-iron circular roof, trusses and a short gallery and twisted brass brackets.


Glen Hansard - Astral Weeks.

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