21 December 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Veronica Corr
Voluntary Caretaker Eddie Byrne was delighted to report to The Northern Standard that the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto on Castle Street, at the foot of Convent Hill adjoining the Ardee Road, has been restored to its former glory.
In fact, it has been enhanced, as in addition to the original Our Lady of Lourdes statue being replaced, a statue of St. Brigid kneeling before Her has been installed, complimented by a marble and gold plaque acknowledging the benevolence of townspeople and Carrickmacross Town Council.
Security at the grotto has also been enhanced including the restoration of the wrought iron gates and installation of a light.
The grotto, which was erected by Carrick’s beloved Brother Serenus (RIP) was originally unveiled on February 2nd, 1989, and rededicated on December 8th, 2011, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
As our readers might recall, The Northern Standard carried a story on the vandalism of the grotto and destruction of its centrepiece, which occurred on the night of Thursday, September 27th.
Just over two months later the story has a happy ending, and Eddie Byrne, voluntary caretaker of this and the Calvary Grotto at Bully’s Acre on the Donaghmoyne Road, is delighted with the result and indebted to a number of people.
Eddie paid tribute to Garda Martin McKenna, who helped him reinstate the grotto. Garda McKenna got involved with the project because he wanted to honour Brother Serenus’ memory.
He credits Brother Serenus as being responsible for his recovery from an horrific road traffic accident in 1984, after which he spent five weeks in a coma.
Eddie was also unreserved in his praise and thanks of Town Engineer Alan Hall, Town Foreman Patsy McKenna and Carrickmacross Town Council, who installed the light on the grotto free of charge.
All other installations and improvements came about as a result of fundraising. Eddie said that he was astounded by the generosity of the people of Carrickmacross and beyond, especially given the prevailing harsh economic climate.
We at The Northern Standard were also delighted to learn that some donations were made as a result of our article.
To date, €1,600 has been raised, but statues and the necessary upgrades were not cheap. In acknowledging the huge investment the community has already made in the project, Eddie explained that an additional €1,000 is needed to cover costs.
Garda Martin McKenna says that he is willing to accept donations to this end, as is Eddie, who can be contacted on 087—0644538.

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