Long-awaited repair and maintenance work has begun on landmark Donegal monument

Doing the work properly now will ensure the monument is there for year to come

Tom Conaghan

Cllr Tom Conaghan (Ind) at the Four Masters monument

Specialist repair and cleaning work has begun on the Four Masters memorial monument in Donegal Town.

The work is being carried out on the sandstone structure by local contractor Brady Construction. The company was appointed following a tender process earlier this year. 

Cllr Tom Conaghan (Ind) said: “This is something I have been working towards since being elected and I am delighted that work has now started.

“I know it is something that a lot of people have been asking about but it is not as simple as just going in and giving it a power wash. 

“The monument needs specialist care due to the nature of the stone and we have a responsibility to do the work properly so that it will be there for the people of Donegal Town for years to come.”

A conservation architect has approved the works which will include repointing and specialist cleaning of the protected structure. 

Cllr Conaghan said: “This will give a great lift to the Diamond and to the town when it is done.”

Situated on the Diamond where there is a high level of passing traffic, the four-sided sandstone obelisk has become quite dirty and grimy.

The structure was built in 1938. It is skillfully inscribed with a number of beautiful Celtic motifs as well as the names of each of the four authors of the Annals of the Four Masters - Franciscan brother Mícheál Ó Cléirigh and three laymen, Cú Choigcríche Ó Cléirigh, Fearfeasa Ó Maolchonaire and Cú Choigcríche Ó Duibhgeannáin. 

The four men compiled the annals between 1632 and 1636.

The monument was designed by architectural firm O’Callaghan and Giron. It was unveiled in 1938 by the Most Revd Dr MacNeely, Bishop of Raphoe at the bequest of Patrick M Gallagher, a solicitor and noted historian.

Mr Gallagher bequeathed £5,000 for the project. The monument itself cost £980 and the remaining money was spent on an altar and furnishings in the new Catholic Church.

According to the Architectural Inventory of Ireland: “Its form is enhanced by the quality of the ashlar sandstone (from nearby Mountcharles) used in its construction and by the appealing incised Celtic cross and Celtic interlacing motifs that adorn each face of the memorial and give it a vaguely Romanesque character.

“This monument is of high artistic merit, and is an integral element of the built heritage of the town.” 

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