It was a sombre yet enlightening day as hundreds of Longfordians filed through the scorched interior of St. Mel’s Cathedral in Longford town yesterday (Sunday, September 18). Organised by St. Mel’s Cathedral Restoration Committee, the day afforded Longfordians the opportunity to witness first hand the scale of the damage inflicted upon the cathedral during the Christmas Day 2009 fire.
“It’s harrowing to see this,” said Bernie Briody of Farnagh Hill, Longford. “I didn’t realise the extent (of the damage) until I seen it. When the priests said it would take years to rebuild I didn’t realise why – so it has been a great idea to let us in.”
Bishop Colm O’Reilly told the Leader that he was deeply struck by the public response.
“I was reluctant to let people in to see it in it’s worst way, but I was convinced otherwise and that this was the thing to do and I’m glad now,” he said.
A full report on the St. Mel’s Cathedral Open Day will be published in this week’s Longford Leader, alongside photographs of the damaged interior.