The Church of the Holy Trinity, Errislannan stands on a wild Connemara peninsula some fifteen minutes drive south and west of the seaside town of Clifden in County Galway. It is an unassuming little church, charming in its simplicity. Divine worship is held there during the summer months of July and August when the few local parishioners are joined for evening devotions by annual visitors and passing holidaymakers alike. It is a place where people can stand aside from the busy world for a time: where they can be still and know, even for a brief moment, that God is in his heaven and all is well with the world.
Imagine how that spiritual idyl was shattered when, on the morning of 25th October 2017, a parishioner went to open the church door ( as is done every day the year round ) in welcome to any passer-by who wanted to take resbite, only to find that door hanging off it’s hinges. Worse was to be discovered inside.
What greeted the eye was a scene of complete devastation. The startlingly white pews had been upended, some of them rendered to near matchwood. The family bible which had reposed on the lectern for decades had been torn asunder and thrown through the east window, smashing the ancient delicate glass, to lie discarded, carelessly, on top of the green sod of the graveyard. The pulpit had been chopped into two pieces. The altar rails had been torn bodily from the chancel walls and used to smash the west window. The brass altar cross was ripped from its mount and clearly used to inflict heartbreaking damage on the church interior. The old organ which had led the praise of Almighty God now lay in pieces on the floor. The newer organ had been destroyed utterly.
This act of physical violence, done to a building dedicated to the God of love and care, was bad enough. What was worse was the violation of the people’s spirit which this wanton vandalism represents. The church building can and will be restored. Even at this early stage, generous offers of assistance are springing up from the local community and beyond. But harder will be the restoration of people’s hearts. It is to this that the Priest in Charge of Holy Trinity Errislannan, The Very Reverend Stan Evans, will now turn his pastoral attention. Those who have worshipped here all their lives will need comfort and solace and will take a long time to come to terms with what has been visited upon their special place, their soul’s home. And therein lies the real tragedy of this sorry story.
The Bishop of Tuam, The Right Reverend Patrick Rooke, on hearing the news issued the following statement:
“I am horrified and saddened by the wanton destruction carried out by vandals in Errislannan Church, outside Clifden. I cannot see what possible gain might be achieved by those responsible. Errislannon Church is maintained and used by a very small church-going community in the Summer months only and for them this is a most devastating attack on a sacred place. I have no doubt, however, that they will galvanise the necessary support to ensure that the major repairs are carried out and worship will resume again next Summer as usual.”
To make a donation to Errislannan Restoration Appeal please follow this link: