Work continues at St Catherine's church, Killybegs
This season's work on the stabilisation of the 15th century Church of St Catherine of Alexandria at Killybegs has been satisfactorily completed.
The emphasis this year has been on clearing and levelling the floor of the old building to make it safe for people to visit.
Said Derek Vial, Chairman of Killybegs History and Heritage Committee, which is overseeing the project: "This is a long-term undertaking with many aspects. All work is carried out with the approval of the Heritage Council, Donegal County Council and the National Monuments Service and the active involvement of archaeological consultants."
He added: "This structure is by far the oldest built medieval structure still extant in this area and it is vital that it be conserved for future generations."
Emphasising the importance of the archaeological complex of which the church forms part, Mr Vial said: "The church, with the graveyard around it and the ancient well dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria, comprise a highly-significant area of archaeological and historical importance along with the ruins of Kit's Castle, built in the 1350s by the then Bishop of Raphoe, Pádraig MacMonagle.
"This importance has been recognised over the years by the listing of St Catherine's Church as a registered national monument and by repeated commitments by Donegal County Council to the protection of the area from any inappropriate development.
"The protection of the area has been further underpinned by a number of recent decisions by An Bord Pleanála", Mr Vial said.
He added that the work on St Catherine's Church would not have been possible without the continued support of local people. "The generosity of people to our street collections this year and last have made it possible for us to take advantage of monies granted by the Heritage Council. Such funding always entails additional expenses which must be found by the committee and we are deeply grateful for the contributions that have made that possible", he said.
Mr Vial also expressed the gratitude of the Killybegs History & Heritage Committee to local company, Murray Landscaping, and to Cronins Archaeological Consultancy, Buncrana, for their continued involvement with the St Catherine's Church project.