Since St Melâ€™s Cathedral tragic fire in 2009, the void it has left in Longford town has been undeniable.
Sparked by an electrical fault, flames ripped through the cathedral causing enormous damage.
With its boarded up windows and silent bells, the cathedralâ€™s former glory was merely a memory and many thought that it could be decades before the spectacular building opened its doors again.
However, just five years later, the cathedral is now coming into the finishing stages of restoration in preparation for its much anticipated reopening for Christmas.
Talking about the â‚¬30 million restoration, project manager Ronan Moore told the Leader, â€œCurrently weâ€™re finishing the laying of the marble floors and pushing ahead with all the external work. We are fitting lights, painting the nave, lime washing and putting in all the joinery and skirting. Weâ€™ve just installed the two Clarke Studio stain glass windows which are absolutely incredible. Weâ€™re also busy installing the two lifts and the oak flooring will be coming in a week. As well as that, we are finishing off the glass lobbies and the lights will be installed in the nave soon.â€
Other recent progress of note is the installation of Thomas Glendonâ€™s stunning Baptismal Font with its intricate mosiac and the beautiful gold leaf detail added to the pillasters by local painter and decorator Eddie Kiernan - it evoked fond memories for Eddie who gilded those same pillasters more than twenty years ago.
Mr Moore commented, â€œI think everyone will love the work that has being done. To have a cathedral in a town which is normally associated with a city is a treasure in itself.â€
He expressed his gratitude to the local residents who have being fully supportive of the ongoing work. â€œWe do our best not to be too loud and try to get lorries off the road as quickly as possible but in fairness, without exception, people have being very patient.â€
Despite a daily commute of a combined 150 miles a day, Mr Mooreâ€™s enthusiasm for the project clearly hasnâ€™t faded. â€œIt is a once in a lifetime oppertunity for me to be involved in a project like this. The most exciting thing is it will not only be a place of worship, but something that people will come to see.â€
Mr Moore assured the Leader that work will be finished on target, â€œIt most certainly will be ready for Christmas Eve.â€
Thanks to the hard work of Richard Keogh of Keogh Electrical, last Thursday saw the bells ringing out triumphantly for the first time since the fire. Although only a test run, it signifies that St Melâ€™s will soon be back to its best.