WITH regard to the proposal to replace the historic parish church of St Maur which dates from 1760, the penal days in Ireland, I would like to comment as follows; There is no shame in pride of past.
I was proud in April, 1974, to stand in the restored Ballintubber Abbey, and speak to that wonderful man Fr Thomas Egan, who had dedicated himself to this work of love. My friend, Percy le Clerc, was the architect. The Monastery was founded in 1216 by Cathal Corvdearg O'Conor, King of Connacht. On September 8 1966, its 750th anniversary, the Mass was said by the late Fr Charles O'Conor
Don SJ, the direct descendent of the last Royal House of Ireland and the hereditary Kings of Connacht. That was an almost royal occasion!
On October 5 1975, I was proud to be at the reconsecration of Holy Cross Abbey by His Grace the Archbishop of Cashel, Dr Thomas Morris, who had enthusiastically supported the project, by architect Percy le Clerc. It was a joyous, historic occasion.
This noble ruin of the monastery which received its charter in about 1182 from the King of Munster, Donal Mor O'Brien, over 800 years ago, is now living again as the Parish Church of Holy Cross. In honour of this I arranged to have a copy of the tracery of its famous East Window erected in the Basilica at Knock, to symbolise the bond between these two great places of pilgrimage.
I sincerely hope and pray that some day I may be able to stand with equal pride in the Parish Church of St Maur in Rush and see it restored as an important link with the penal days — with more than 200 years of history since 1760.
The tower, which was forbidden under the penal laws, was added in 1833, just a few years after Catholic emancipation. I would like to see this tower, with its graceful spire raised by about 20 feet, as a beacon — a simple statement of faith by the people of Rush.
Finally, a practical advantage of restoration work is that it can be done as funds allow. When the main structure of the Church has been made safe and fit to use, the finishing can be a challenge for the future. This avoids the large lump sum payment required for a new building, with all the consequent debts and high interest rates.
There is no shame in pride of past.
Daithi Hanly, Dalkey Co. Dublin