Killybegs History and Heritage Group have been continuing their hard work conserving St Catherine’s Church.

This is the 5th year the group have been working on the 600 year old Franciscan Monastery and have said they will continue their work well into the future.

Derek Vial who is an archaeologist and ‘Chief Delegator’ for the Killybegs History & Heritage Committee spoke to Donegal Now about the work the group do.

Derek said “Our group has worked really well over the past few years and I have no doubt it will continue to do so in the future. TD Joe McHugh has singled out our group in the past as a good example of a local heritage group because of our sustainability and the projects we have done around Killybegs.

“What it comes down to though is the local support, local businesses who donate and supply us with equipment we need, our support from overseas sponsors, the Heritage Council for their very generous annual financial support, our Cllr’s and especially to our own local Cllr Niamh Kennedy who has been brilliant, as well as many more groups and individuals who make it possible for our work to continue.”

The group have contractors who come back to them each year to help with the conservation of the building. Derek explained that this has been paramount to the work that they have been able to achieve over the five years working on St Catherine’s Church.

He explained “When we first began our work we got a list of prices for the conservation work and we had to start with smaller projects until we had the whole thing up and running. We are very lucky with our contractors because these guys are the best and still come back to us every year, they are willing to stick to the plans and even work their holidays around it. It definitely is a commitment to begin this kind of work and we are very grateful for the team we have. It’s important for any start up heritage group to know to aim for smaller projects or to focus on one aspect of a bigger project at a time and put the money into it as it comes.”

Derek is also running in the Killybegs Mayoral Campaign, as part of the town's annual street festival, on behalf of the History and Heritage Group.

Derek’s competition is the ‘town’s fisherman,’ Conal ‘the Gull’ Breslin. Voting has begun today and Derek has told everyone to go along to the local pubs or shops where ballot papers are available and give him their vote. Voting sheets cost €1 with 50% of the money going to towards the festival while the other 50% goes towards the candidates chosen charity.

He will also be holding a raffle with some great prizes including a Kevin Sharkey painting, a Majella Mc Cluskey painting; Seamus Coleman signed Jersey, Little Hours ticket’s for their national tour in Letterkenny plus much more. The money raised from the raffle will go towards Killybegs History and Heritage Committee and the RNLI.

The new Killybegs Mayor will be announced on Sunday night in the Tara Hotel at 8pm at ‘The New Lord Mayor’s Victory Dance.’

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