The Archdeacon of Raphoe, Ven. David Huss, has said Donegal Parish Church – which was damaged in a lightning strike on Christmas Day – could remain closed for a number of weeks while repair work is carried out.
The lightning strike, which happened during a violent thunderstorm on Sunday evening, blew out a number of electrical sockets and left the church without heat or light.
The ESB has shut off the church’s power supply as a precaution and it won’t be restored until repair work has been completed. The Parish’s Select Vestry will meet on Wednesday evening to decide how to proceed in the meantime.
The local Rector, Archdeacon Huss, said it was fortunate the lightning strike happened at 9.30 in the evening while the church was unoccupied. “There is a lot of damage to the electrics,” he said, “but thankfully it didn’t start a fire and more importantly still no one was hurt.
“Looking at it from a scientific point of view, it was an extremely powerful strike,” the Rector said.
“Many people commented on the unusually bright flash and extremely loud clap of thunder. The church is the tallest structure in town so it became the focal point of the strike.
Archdeacon Huss said he had received many expressions of support from across the community for which he was extremely grateful. “Thankfully we have a great team in the parish and we will work together to get back on our feet as quickly as possible.”
Donegal Parish Church was built between 1825 and 1828, consecrated in 1831 and this Gothic style Church of Ireland Church retains its early form and architectural character.
This church was later extended in 1890 with the addition of an organ chamber, chancel and vestry room. The elegant needle spire is a typical feature of these churches built in urban locations during this period and is a landmark feature in the skyline of Donegal Town.
Its Interior is distinguished by the fine cut stone, chancel arch, organ chamber and intricate tiled floor. This church and its history is a very important element in the heritage of Donegal Town.