Gardai here in Castleisland confirmed today that an investigation has been launched into how last night’s fire on the western face of the Ivy Leaf Art Centre was started.
Locals, convinced that the fire was deliberately started on the ivy clad wall and belfry, condemned the act as that of wanton vandalism.
Quell the Blaze
In spite of being preoccupied with a serious gorse fire on Annagh Bog, the local fire brigade was called to quell the blaze at around 10pm last night.
Locals alerted the brigade as the crackingly dry and thick ivy stumps became engulfed in flames at the base of the wall and the fire spread quickly upwards.
After surviving an attack by Cromwell in the 1600s, the wing was a remnant of an older church (St. Nicholas) on the site there and a historical focal point of the building in recent years.
Laying Idle Since 1949
Formerly, St. Stephen’s Church of Ireland and, after laying idle since 1947, it was restored and opened in 1982 as the Ivy Leaf Art Centre and under the care of two Listowel natives, Fr. Kieran O’Shea, RIP and Jerome Stack – who is its director to this day.
Members of the Island Players gathered at the site this morning and considered themselves lucky that the fire was caught on time and that, no thanks to the perpetrators, no damage was done to the interior of the building.
Castleisland Garda Station can be contacted on: 066 71 41204 / 066 71 63090
Confidential Line – 1800 666111
The Garda Confidential line allows people to call with information relating to matters of crime or other activities.
Crimestoppers – 1800 250025
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