Parishioners in Derry and Tyrone donned their hiking books this month as they faced a daunting ascent in the Donegal mountains.
As a fund-raiser for Derry’s St Eugene’s Church, Glenock, the parish of Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone, organised a sponsored climb of Mount Errigal. The two groups of climbers rose to the challenge. The “early birds” began the ascent at 10am and the second group, accompanied by Fr Roland Colhoun, attended the 11am Mass in Newtownstewart and began climbing at 2pm.
For the 30 pilgrims, the gradient of the mountain was a definite challenge but the exhilaration of reaching the summit made it worth the exertion. It was a day of abundant camaraderie, intermittent prayers, copious photographs, beautiful weather and generous donations.
Sponsorship came from parishioners and friends, willing novices, seasoned walkers and neighbouring congregations. Even foreign tourists on Errigal itself were impressed by the specially designed Glenock T-shirts and contributed spontaneously to the Church restoration fund. The purpose of fund-raising is the restoration of the church spire at Glenock. The spire and other features of the historic church are in urgent need of repair. Dating from 1785, it is the fourth oldest church in the Diocese of Derry.
By Sunday evening, the sponsored climb had raised £2172 (€2,355) and plenty more donations are flooding in.