Marking St Mel’s milestone

The west aisle of the Cathedral as it was after the fire and as it is now. Photo: Tiernan Dolan
Christmas 2009 is one date which Longford natives are unlikely to ever forget.

Christmas 2009 is one date which Longford natives are unlikely to ever forget.

That Christmas Eve, crowds gathered in St Mel’s Cathedral for a beautiful vigil Mass. Little did anyone know the devastation that would occur over the following hours as a fire destroyed the beloved building.

Locals gathered outside the Cathedral once more on Christmas morning, but it wasn’t the joyous celebration that they had expected. Instead, tear-stained faces watched on in disbelief as the Fire Services fought tirelessly against the blaze that claimed the iconic building.

Now, just five years on, a huge crowd is once again expected to assemble, this time to celebrate the Cathedral’s reopening.

Incredible work has been carried out over the past five years to restore the Cathedral to its former glory. On Saturday, December 20, the public will finally get a glimpse of all this work as St Mel’s Cathedral opens its doors once more.

The reopening of St Mel’s Cathedral and indeed the celebration of Mass there will be an exciting occasion for all of Longford and to commemorate this historic occasion, we here at the Longford Leader are putting together a souvenir supplement, sponsored by Gem Purcell.

The free supplement will be published with next week’s paper, and we are asking our readers to get involved by sharing your memories and/or photographs of St Mel’s Cathedral with us.

Get in contact with us by calling 043 33 45241, email aoife.carberry@longfordleader.ie or contact us via Facebook. For more on the Cathedral opening times, see page 22.