In 1954 a special Westport committee, made up mainly of people from the Quay, was set up to erect a shrine at Upper Quay to mark the papal-designated Marian Year. Since then the shrine has occupied a special place in the hearts of local people, many of whom worked on a voluntary basis to maintain it. But time took its toll on the shrine and many of the volunteers, and it became obvious in recent years that some remedial work was required.
Enter Quay resident Anne Nally as project development officer. Ms Nally decided three years ago that restoration work should be carried out on the shrine which is known locally as The Grotto. Now the work has been completed and the shrine will be rededicated at a special ceremony on Monday August 12 at 7pm.
It will be a gathering of faith and hope in this the year of The Gathering and all are invited to attend.
Anne said that she has great affinity with Our Lady and saw the restoration project as a way of doing something for the Westport community.
“Hopefully this will make a difference to the people of Westport and all those who visit it in the future. As this is the Year of Faith is seemed right to celebrate the restoration as a gathering of faith and hope.”
She paid special tribute to Westport Tidy Towns, Westport Town Council, and some friends and local residents for the support given to the restoration.
“Our Lady’s crown has been missing for many years but it has now been replaced and will be illuminated again on Monday evening. This will be followed by the unveiling of a plaque which is inscribed with a simple prayer to Our Lady. Following this a wreath will be laid at the shrine in memory of all past caretakers,” she added.
The rededication ceremony will be carried out by local clergy after which refreshments will be served. Everybody is welcome to attend.
Anyone wishing to help at the ceremony on a voluntary basis can contact Anne Nally on 098 56455 or 087 900 4123.