Church Chimes Ring out again at St. Maeldoid's Church

A large crowd of Cross Community representatives and individuals who attended a series of workshops which resulted in the restoration of the Church of Ireland Belfry Chimes attended a special launch event in St. Maeldoid’s Church of Ireland over the festive season.  The project which was held under a local PEACE IV Project ‘A Community Together’, which has as its aims to promote awareness of different cultures and to celebrate diversity, is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

This project which involved the participation of local community members both young and old and from different religious and ethnic backgrounds resulted in the refurbishment and reuse of the Church chimes in St. Maeldoid’s Church, so that they now can be heard again after lying silent for many years.

Castleblayney Community Enterprise was partnered with the Blayney Cultural Network Group and Church of Ireland on this restoration project activity.  Over the course of delivery of “Community Together” project the promoters will work with hundreds of young people and adults from cross community and ethnic minorities using primarily the medium of art and crafts to overcome religious cultural and ethnic differences.

Speakers at the event included Gary Ogle, Chairperson Castleblayney Community Enterprise, Rev. Neal Phair, Church of Ireland, Brenda Clerkin, Monaghan PEACE IV Partnership, Janet Hill, Church of Ireland and Rachael Collie.  Tommy McGuire, Manager of Castleblayney Community Enterprise acted as MC.

During the various presentations by the speakers the importance of the project in promoting inclusion and fostering integration was highlighted and the support of the Monaghan PEACE IV Partnership under the Building Positive Relations Programme was acknowledged. 

Special Certificates were then presented to the sixteen individuals who participated in the Church Chimes restoration project.  These participants were recruited by the Church of Ireland, Castleblayney Community Enterprise and the Blayney Cultural Network Group comprising of young people and adults from cross community and ethnic minorities.

On the night too a special commemorative brass plaque was also unveiled to acknowledge the work by the late Ian Collie, who had been the main advocator for the restoration and reuse of the Church Chimes.  Ian had initiated discussion with Tommy McGuire, Manager of Castleblayney Community Enterprise and both had carried preparatory works to have the Chimes restored under the current PEACE IV programme, but sadly Ian passed away before the project reached fruition.

The unveiling was carried out by Rev. Neal Phair who commenced with a blessing ceremony and this was followed by a poignant tribute from Janet Hill, who as Church of Ireland FAS supervisor had worked closely with the late Ian Collie over the years and she highlighted Ian’s desire and passion to see the Chimes restored.  Rachel Collie then spoke on behalf of the family during which she thanked Castleblayney Community Enterprise and Tommy McGuire for co-ordinating the project.  Monaghan PEACE IV Partnership for supporting the project and Janet Hill for her kind words and tribute to her father Ian Collie who she said “would be a very proud man tonight”.

The attendance which also included Canon Shane McCaughey Parish Priest and Father Stephen Duffy of St. Mary’s Church then stepped outside to listen to a selection of Christmas carols which were played and beautifully carried through the night air.

Notes to the Editor:
The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Ireland.   It is responsible for managing two EU Structural Funds Programmes, PEACE IV and INTERREG VA which are designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society.  The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and in the case of INTERREG VA, Western Scotland.  The PEACE IV Programme has a value of €270 million and aims to promote peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland.