A tradition was born 12 years ago when John Joe Ward, cemetery caretaker perched a lighted Christmas star on the gable of the ruins of St Kerrills Abbey in Cloonkeenkerrill cemetery. Given that John Joe left this world to a greater place in 2022, it appears this is a tradition set to continue, thanks in the main to another Cloonkeenkerrill native PJ Finnerty who has pledged to continue the tradition.
The star looks more splendorous than ever this year given the recent restoration work of the south abbey gable window and it’s transept and the adjoining wall. The abbey is now a glorious fragment of what it once was. All ivy overburden has been removed, the stone has been revealed and repointed, and the detail of its outstanding feature – the only surviving transept window in the old monastic church was surprisingly undamaged and has now been glued and pinned to ensure greater stability.
Enhanced now by the Christmas star, the abbey ruins are serenely beautiful, and are fabulous to see. This is part of our heritage and we are thankful to Pat Roberts, Gurteen & of MKO Planning & Environmental consultants who instigated the recent restoration work, to Galway County Council, to the Community Monuments Fund who provided the needful funding to complete Phase 1 of this wonderful work, to Dominic Delany & Associates & Kerril Lyndsey, Archaeologists; 7L Conservation Architects, John Britton Engineers, Tony Ward & stone masons of Stankard Stone.
The star was officially turned on last night, 15th December and will stay lighted until Jan 6th. It’s a wonderful sight and shines brightly over all our loved ones lying in the cemetery. Well done to PJ who worked in all types of weather to have the star erected. I’m sure John Joe would be as proud as ever to see the star lighting and it’s fitting that it shines directly over his final resting place.