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Congregations celebrate as two historic Co Armagh churches share funding windfall

Acton Parish Church and Creggan Parish Church have each been awarded money by the National Churches Trust’s Treasure Ireland project

Creggan Parish Church picture by Colin Boyle

Congregations at two historic Church of Ireland buildings in County Armagh are celebrating after being awarded funding by the National Churches Trust.

Acton Parish Church, Poyntzpass and Creggan Parish Church, are to receive funding as part of the Treasure Ireland project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and the Department for Communities.

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said: “The latest funding from the National Churches Trust’s Treasure Ireland project is a much-needed lifeline for Acton Parish Church and Creggan Parish Church.”

“The grants will safeguard unique local heritage and provide a real boost to the people who look after the churches as we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdowns.

“Our thanks to the funders of Treasure Ireland: the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and the Department for Communities.”

Acton Parish Church, Poyntzpass is to receive £4,000 of funding for a project to repoint and repair sections of the south side of the church.

The building is listed category B and the tower features an interesting Memento Mori sundial by Thomas McCreash, Poyntzpass dating from 1819.

A spokesperson for Acton Parish Church stated: “The Rector, Select Vestry and Parishioners of Acton Parish Church, are most grateful to the National Churches Trust Grant Committee for awarding us this grant towards repairing and preserving our treasured church building for future generations.”

Creggan Parish Church is to receive £6,500 of funding from the National Churches Trust.

The Gothic Revival style church is believed to date from between 1731 and 1758 with the tower being added in 1799. The building sits within an ancient graveyard, thought to be the traditional burial place of the descendants of the O’Neill dynasty. Inside the church there are beautiful windows designed by Belfast stained glass studio Douglas, Sons & Co dating from 1915.

Kenny Donaldson, Secretary of Creggan Parish Church, stated: “We are delighted as a small Parish to have been successful in our bid for funding from The National Churches Trust and the Wolfson Fabric Repair Grant scheme.

“The church, associated lands and buildings are amongst the most heritage rich of churches across Ireland, north and south.”

The grant of £6,500 is augmented by a further £2,000 from the Wolfson Fabric Repair Grant from the Wolfson Foundation on the recommendation of the National Churches Trust. The money will help deliver a project to carry out essential maintenance and repoint stonework.

Treasure Ireland is a new project to support historic places of worship in Northern Ireland which will run until 2023.

It offers grants for repairs, help and advice with maintenance to help keep churches or chapels in good condition and a tourism initiative showcasing the rich church heritage of Northern Ireland.

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