Last July, saw the parish bid a fond farewell to Fr. Brendan Hoban on his retirement. It was an especially sad occasion as we became the first parish in the diocese (but not the last by any means) to lose our Parish Priest. We have been fortunate to have such a good man as Fr. James Corcoran, share his parish duties between Ballysakeery and Moygownagh, and work effectively with our Parish Pastoral Council, but it is only natural for people to feel sadness at the loss of our resident priest. Following on Fr. Hoban's retirement, the Pastoral Council, working with the Bishop, is managing the parish administration, including the Parochial house. It commissioned an engineer's report (the first such report on record) on the building and we have now learned that the house, though largely structurally sound, is in urgent need of repair work - to the tune of an imminent spend of 60,000 euros - in order to make it safe and habitable, and prevent structural damage. The report is available to download here or from the secretary of the Pastoral Council. This is a serious financial requirement, if the building is to remain accessible to the public or for any habitation. 

The Pastoral Council subsequently agreed to partner with Moygownagh Heritage Society, led by NUI Galway historian Liam Heffron, to develop the building into a heritage centre with separate accommodation for a self-contained apartment. The heritage society is submitting proposals for Government funding which will see the house repaired and developed into an archive and visitor centre, showcasing the heritage and history of North Mayo and the local aspects of the Wild Atlantic Way. This will see the building largely retain its internal features and also house a cafe, interactive displays and genealogical office. Separate self-contained living accommodation will be rented out as an 'Artist in Residence' type annual rental to provide habitation for a retired academic or indeed, a future priest. 

The Pastoral council are excited by the development plans, and look forward to the parish gaining the benefits of a revitalised Parochial House, in the months and years ahead. If anyone has any questions or comments on the plans etc. they are more than welcome to share them with their local member of the Pastoral council, or provide them to the chairman, via the secretary (contact details here).

Richard Taheny

Chairman, Moygownagh Parish Pastoral Council