Rain led to the cancellation of some elements of the Killymard Family Fun Day but the 5K walk and evening house dance went ahead.

Around 70 people who braved Saturday’s weather for the walk were rewarded with clear skies for the duration.

A number of people ran the 5K. First home was Daniel Gallagher. Next were eight young participants who showed that today’s youth certainly aren’t afraid of a challenge.

Everyone enjoyed refreshments in the Old St Mary’s Church after the walk.

A number of field events planned for the day had already been called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

People gathered again in the evening for the annual house dance which included jive and waltzing competitions.

There was a cosy atmosphere in the old church which many of those present had attended for weekly Mass as children.

The history of the church and the wider community was celebrated in a display of old photographs and newspaper clippings. There was also a slideshow of photographs from recent events such as Old Fair Days and dances.

Raymond Jordan from the Old Church Restoration committee said: “Thanks to everyone who turned up to support the walk and the dance, to the road marshals, bakers, jam-makers and all the volunteers who helped out in any way.”

One special part of the day was the Wall of Fame award. This honours people who have played a significant part in the story of the old church since the restoration project began five years ago.

This year’s recipient was Peter Ward who works as a groundskeeper in the parish but whose input goes far beyond his work.

Mr Jordan said: “Congratulations to Peter. He always keeps the place looking very well and goes over and above what is expected of him. He is among the first to volunteer when help is needed and along with his family, has been a big part of everything we have done since the old church restoration began. Peter is a very deserving recipient.”

Another popular feature of the house dance is the waltz and jive competition.

The waltz was won by Patsy and Mairead McNulty. And after a very close competition that went to a dance off, jive winners were  Kevin Ward and Bernie Kane.

More than €1,000 was raised on the day. Proceeds will be divided between the Killymard Old Church Restoration Fund and the Graveyard Development Fund.

The committee wishes to thank sponsors Donegal Town Hardware, George Irwin Hardware, McNulty’s XL, Greg McGroary and Carling Ireland, Giftworld, Eugene O’Donnell, Herron Auto, Brian Ward for photos, Noel Jordan for the sound system and last but by no means least, musicians Benny McGroary, Peter Kane, Frank McAree and Paul O’Donnell.

Conservation Project

Restoration of the 250-year-old  St Mary's Church in Killymard began in 2014. Under the guidance of conservation architect Duncan McLaren and working with skilled local tradesmen Martin McNern and John Friel, much has already been accomplished.

Major work was carried out on the church spire which was in imminent danger of collapse. It was made safe and restored under conservation guidelines. A number of repairs were carried out on the roof at the same time.

The next task was to restore the original windows. This was  a highly specialist task with much of the original wood and glass being retained.

Work on interior and exterior doors is currently being undertaken.

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