The Four Masters memorial monument in Donegal Town is to undergo specialist cleaning and repair.

Situated on the Diamond where there is a high level of passing traffic, the sandstone obelisk has become quite dirty and grimy in recent years.

Area Roads Officer Mark Sweeney told councillors at the September meeting of the Municipal District (MD) of Donegal that it was also in need of repair.

“The memorial is a protected structure so we need a conservation architect to oversee the works,” he said. “We are about to appoint one and we will then look at what needs to be done and then we can see about getting funding.”

History

The four-sided obelisk was erected in 1938 and is inscribed with a number of Celtic motifs. It also features the names of each of the four authors of the Annals of the Four Masters. They are Franciscan brother Mícheál Ó'Cléirigh and three laymen, Cú Choigcríche Ó'Cléirigh, Fearfeasa Ó'Maolchonaire and Cú Choigcríche Ó'Duibhgeannáin.

The four men compiled the annals between 1632 and 1636.

The monument was designed by architects O’Callaghan and Giron at the bequest of Patrick M Gallagher, a solicitor and historian. It was then unveiled in 1938 by the Most Revd Dr MacNeely, Bishop of Raphoe.

Mr Gallagher bequeathed £5,000 for the project. The monument cost £980 and the remaining money was spent on an altar and furnishings in the new Catholic Church.

According to the Architectural Inventory of Ireland: “Its form is enhanced by the quality of the ashlar sandstone from nearby Mountcharles used in its construction and by the appealing incised Celtic cross and Celtic interlacing motifs that adorn each face of the memorial and give it a vaguely Romanesque character.

“This monument is of high artistic merit, and is an integral element of the built heritage of the town.”

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