The north-central Irish Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise has suffered the tragic loss of its 150-year old cathedral yesterday morning in what may have been an act of arson. Just a few hours after the bishop celebrated Midnight Mass, the fire broke out. By the time it was extinguished the beautiful interior was completely gutted.
A video showing the destroyed cathedral can be seen here. The Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Dr Colm O'Reilly, has said he will restore St Mel's Cathedral in Longford , though it will cost over €2 million. Bishop O'Reilly said he celebrated midnight mass to a packed Cathedral. He said that it was an extraordinary contrast the next morning. Construction on St Mel's started in 1840 and it opened in September, 1856.
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Though details of any fundraising efforts have yet to emerge, the Diocese can be contacted as follows:-
The Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois(image: RTÉ)
Phone: +353 (0)43-3346432
Fax: +353 (0)43-3346833
Email: ardaghdi at iol.ie