Rathmullan Abbey to reopen to the public

Donegal County Council has confirmed that Rathmullan Abbey can now reopen to the public following extensive restoration works.

The abbey was closed in 2015 on Health and Safety grounds, with various sections in a state of collapse and held together by the enclosing Ivy.

Now, the council says, the restoration work has rendered the abbey safe.

Divisional Manager Fergal Doherty was closely involved with the project - He says the local historical society was instrumental in getting the work started..........

Rathmullan Abbey before the restoration works.

Before and after the five year restoration programme.

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Council statement in full -

Rathmullan Abbey Conservation –Press Release.

Following the closing of Rathmullan Abbey to the public in 2015 on Health and Safety grounds, with various sections in a state of collapse and held together by the enclosing Ivy, Donegal County Council are pleased to announce that 5 years on, the final Phase 3 of the conservation works to the 500 year old Abbey were completed in recent weeks, such that public access to the Abbey can now be restored.

The conservation works to the Abbey carried out over the past 5 years, involved the timely removal of trees and ivy, and the consolidation of stonework, utilizing a lime based mortar matching the existing, under the supervision of Conservation Architect, Dedalus (Moville), and Archaeologist Richard Crumlish (Carndonagh), with stonework by John Doherty Construction (Clonmany) and Seamus Friel & Sons (Buncrana).

Fergal Doherty, DCC Divisional Manager expressed thanks to the various funding bodies, The Heritage Council, former Dept of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and SEUPB(PEACE IV) who together with the Donegal County Council provided the funding that enabled the works to be carried out. Thanks were also expressed to local groups Rathmullan & District Historical Society and Rathmullan RDRC -The Way Forward.

Donegal County Council Heritage Officer Joseph Gallagher added “The long-term commitment demonstrated by local heritage and community groups in Rathmullan to the conservation of the abbey and the historic graveyard is commendable and has been rewarded.  The phased approach taken to conservation works, under expert supervision and with the consent of the National Monuments Service, means that with regular maintenance, this structure will be available to future generations to interpret, appreciate and enjoy.”

Building Conservation Officer, Coletter Beattie commented that: “The building was concealed under layers of ivy and the conservation approach has been one of minimal intervention which has carefully revealed and repaired this 16th century building, that has been used as a priory and later as a private dwelling, showing the integrate details of beautiful dressed stone work and carvings and allowing us to understand the different stages of alteration to the building over the centuries.”