The Augustinian Order formally handed over ownership of the Callan Friary Complex to Kilkenny County Council at an event held on November 22nd.
A monastery was originally constructed on this site in 1471, and the site has been an integral part of the history of both Callan and Ireland from that day to this demonstrating Callan’s rich and deep heritage as a vibrant rural town for centuries.
The current Church and under-croft at the centre of the Friary Complex was built in 1819 and funded by local donations from the community.
Fathers Egan and Mernagh representing the Augustinian Order at the event reflected on the contribution of their order and of the people of Callan to both the Friary and the Town. The strong commitment of the Order to supporting the well being of the local community was very apparent and the handover of the property to the local authority will ensure its continued role in public and community life.
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr. Michael Doyle speaking at the event acknowledged the role of the Augustinians and various community and voluntary groups in keeping the building open for community use over the last 20 years but welcomed the opportunity now for Kilkenny County Council to bring the property into the next phase of its life.
Cllr. Deirdre Cullen, Cathaoirleach of the Callan-Thomastown Municipal District confirmed the local authority’s commitment to the provision of an inclusive and quality space for public services, community events and gatherings as well as welcoming the chance to conserve and refurbish the building to have a long life into the future as a heritage town centre focal point.
Director of Services Mary Mulholland explained that at present Kilkenny County Council are working through a process of public consultation and site, environmental and conservation assessment before starting a design and planning process to determine the future uses and refurbishment works for the property. At the end of this process, managed by Annette Fitzpatrick as Town Regeneration Officer, a detailed masterplan for the development of Callan Friary will be in place for delivery in the coming years.