Cllr Matt Doran pictured outside St
A county councillor is calling on the Office of Public Works to open up a significant medieval church in Callan to the public.
Cllr Matt Doran (Fianna Fáil) has raised the matter on a number of occasions in the council chambers and is seeking a meeting with representatives from the OPW.
“There is serious potential with St Mary’s Church - it is a magnificient structure and it should be open to the public during the Summer months.
“I am calling on the OPW to resource a part-time position, whereby the church would be opened and staffed by someone who has the relevant knowledge of its rich history.
“I have no doubt that this would also benefit Callan as a town as it would attract tourists to the area. At the moment tourists are stopping but driving off as they don’t have easy access to the site.
“We have seen how successful initiatives at St Mary’s Church in Gowran and the Kells Priory have been. Both of these historical sites have someone there during the Summer months to show people around and they are both thriving. It feels as if Callan has been forgotton,” he added.
At present a local business, O’Briens have a key to the church gate but there is no sign informing people of this. “We need someone to be based here from June to September and a sign to be erected so that if people visit outside of these hours they know where to go to get the key,” added Cllr Doran.
St. Mary’s Church was built in 1250 by Hugh de Mapilton, Bishop of Ossory. All but the west tower was replaced in 1460. The chancel continued as a Church of Ireland place of worship until the 1970s.