Newly refurbished grotto opens in Tarmonbarry

The opening of a newly refurbished grotto in Tarmonbarry village on Sunday last was celebrated by a large gathering.             At the start of the celebrations, three senior citizens, Annie Naughton, Maude Fleming and Eileen Keane, performed the lighting of the three candles on the grotto and the local choir from Whitehall Church helped the proceedings along.             Five decades of the Rosary followed, with local parish priest Fr. Eamonn O’Connor, followed by Liturgy of the Word readings by Karen Casserley from Tarmonbarry and John Leavy from Scramogue. The blessing of the grotto was performed by Fr. Tom Cox from Longford who is a native of Tarmonbarry village. A large crowd attended the ceremony to celebrate the opening of the newly refurbished Grotto in Tarmonbarry Village on Sunday evening last. The official turning on of the lights was carried out by locals Michael Fleming and Finian Naughton.             Outlining the work done on the new grotto, local councilor Tom Crosby said, ‘Our Lady’s grotto was first built in the village centre in the early fifties and has remained the central feature in the village ever since. A few years ago Tarmonbarry Development & Tidy Towns Association considered ways of enhancing the grotto and commissioned renowned sculptor Michael Casey from Newtowncashel.             ‘Michael designed a model of the proposed new grotto which was placed in the local shop and which gave the general public an opportunity to give their views on the new proposal. There were a lot of positive comments and no objections to the proposal. The Project was costed at around €45,000. After one or two unsuccessful applications the Development Association were successful last year and were sanctioned funding through the Leader Village Enhancement Programme which is jointly funded by Roscommon County Council and Clár with a of grant of  €30,000, allocated’.             Work commenced on the Project last October and is just now completed. Cllr Crosby this week thanked everybody involved for their excellent work and help in bringing this wonderful feature to fruition. He said the newly refurbished grotto is a beautiful work of art and enhances the centre of the village which is on the National Primary Road to and from the West of Ireland.             Local man Mickie Kelly stated he was a member of the original committee and that it was a wet and windy evening when the original grotto was blessed and dedicated over fifty years ago by the then Parish Priest Canon O’Beirne. He said the builders of the original Grotto were Christy Conroy and Johnnie Kelly from Curraghroe and he stated that it was good to see Christy Conroy’s son PJ there.             Michael Casey, sculptor, complimented Tom Crosby and the committee for their dedication to the project and said that it was great to be able to source the beautiful old building rock from the nearby Weir in Tarmonbarry and the hammer marks on the rocks was evidence of the stone mason’s work from the last century. He also stated that the stones from the original Grotto were incorporated in the new build.