Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is due to attend a special rededication service at St Columb’s Cathedral following a £3.6m refurbishment at the historic building.
Finance Minister Arlene Foster is also expected to join a host of church leaders and local dignitaries at this Thursday evening’s service in the iconic Church of Ireland cathedral.
The building has pride of place in Derry’s architectural and social heritage, having been described as the most historic and iconic building in city. The cathedral remained open right through the recent restoration, for which the local congregation raised £400,000. The refurbishment has come on top of the rebuilding of the organ which cost £550,000 a few years ago. The major funder for the overhaul project was the Northern Ireland Tourist Board which will host a Board Meeting at Cathedral Close next Thursday morning before the rededication service.
The London Street building was first opened in 1634 by Honourable the Irish Society, which began the building process by sending over a silver communion chalice before anything was built “as an act of faith that it would be built”. Through the centuries the cathedral has made a major contribution to city’s cultural, social, historical and religious life and plans to do so for the forthcoming City of Culture year. It is also a key tourist attractions with droves of people visiting the cathedral each year to view historical artefacts including a First Edition King James Bible (400 years old this year) and a copy of Ulster Covenant Bible. Over the years the cathedral has enjoyed excellent relations across the community, especially with Catholic near neighbours at St Eugene’s Cathedral and Long Tower Church.