On a mission to save Burt’s landmark local church

St Aengus' Church, Burt. (1402CD05)
St Aengus' Church, Burt. (1402CD05)

A cross-border fundraising campaign has been launched to help preserve one of Ireland’s most distinctive churches.

St Aengus’ Church at Burt - close to the Derry/Donegal border - is regarded as an architectural gem.

Built in the 1960s in a unique style, the building is now in need of major restoration.

Faced with the mammoth task of saving St Aengus’ Church, local parishioners have rallied together. Last year alone, the community raised an astounding €99,000 and plans are well underway for the year ahead.

But now, campaigners are calling on the help of the wider community to help them accomplish the project.

Vice Chairman of the Fundraising Committee, Micheal McLaughlin, explained: “As part of fundraising efforts, the Parish has run a highly successful Draw.

“In this first year the parish have raised €99,000, with a further €23,400 being paid out in prizes ranging from a monthly first prize of €1000, second prize of €500, third prize of €250 and a monthly promoters’ prize of €50.

“The people of Fahan, Burt and Inch have taken the cause of ‘The Building of the Century’ (Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland 2000) to their hearts.

“Over the past year, the community has hosted several fundraising events, from calendar sales to ‘A Night at the Races’, with many more events planned for 2014.

“I am genuinely amazed at the generosity of the parishioners. Every member of the parish community has helped secure a truly significant legacy for future generations.”

The Vice Chairman continued: “Phase Two, which will involve re-wiring, new lighting and work to the internal fabric of the church will begin soon.

“On behalf of the Parish Priests and the Fundraising Committee, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the local community and those from outside the parish for their efforts in 2013 and ask for their continuing support in 2014.”

St Aengus’ Church sits on the main N13 road to Letterkenny.

Long regarded as a landmark building on the busy route, the Catholic church was designed by award-winning architects Frank Corr and Liam McCormick in 1964-65 and construction was completed in 1967.

It was instantly taken to the hearts of the local community and wider afield.

Many couples from outside the parish have sought permission to hold their weddings in the special location.

Recognised nationally and beyond as an architectural masterpiece, the church also sits at the foot of the ancient Grianan of Aileach ring fort.

The passage of time and the elements have taken their toll.

Under the direction of architect, Carl Petterson, a team of dedicated and skilled builders have now begun the sensitive restoration to the external fabric of the church.

If you want to support the group’s continuing fundraising efforts by joining the Parish Draw, or becoming a promoter, please contact Fr. N Mc Goldrick, Parochial house, Castlequarter, Fahan, Co Donegal, Tel : 074 9360151; or Rev Francis Lynch, St.Aengus’ Parochial house, Carrownamaddy, Burt, Co. Donegal, Tel : 074 9368155.

Alternatively you can e mail: fahanparish@derrydioc ese.org and a member of the Fundraising Committee will contact you with all the relevant information.