Significant progress is being made on the restoration of St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford and last Wednesday witnessed another milestone for the major conservation project as the new Carrara marble altar was installed and blessed.
Project Manager Ronan Moore told the ‘Longford Leader’, “To be present as the altar was moved into position was special, indeed a privilege.”
Mr Moore said the altar is stunningly beautiful, made from fabulous Carrara marble and it weighs 7.8 tonnes and is one metre high.
“The altar arrived at 8.30am and it was moved to its preliminary position by 12 noon, before being placed in its final position,” explained Mr Moore.
Artist Thomas Glendon, who is originally from Dublin, worked on the altar and it was carved in Loughrea in Co Galway.
The altar was blessed by Bishop emeritus Dr Colm O’Reilly, assisted by Fr Tom Healy, Fr Tom Murray and Fr Brendan O’Sullivan.
They also blessed the Holy Relic which was part of the former altar prior to the 2009 fire that destroyed the cathedral.
The Relic will be placed in the upstand of the new altar.
Mr Moore added, “There was a great buzz among clergy and project workers to see the altar finally installed and in its rightful position.”
The new Baptismal Font, also made of Carrara marble, has arrived at the cathedral and it will be installed in position at a later date.
Meanwhile, in last Sunday week’s Longford Parish newsletter, the St Mel’s Cathedral Project Committee informed parishioners that An Bord Pleanála had granted planning permission for the third phase of the restoration projection which relates to the external works.
They acknowledged the work of the Design Team on the successful outcome of three planning appeals.
They concluded: “We remain confident of meeting our target of reopening the Cathedral for Christmas.”