Former dancehall and well-known hotel, the Beaten Path, at Brize, Claremorris, is to reopen as a Christian church tomorrow (Saturday ).
The roadside hotel, restaurant, and lounge between Balla and Claremorris had been closed for a number of years.
However, a local Christian community group purchased it just before Christmas.
It will now be officially renamed Spring of Life and open its doors to worshippers tomorrow at 1pm.
The once popular venue where many Saturday nights were jived and boogied away by people from all over Mayo and beyond will now see weekly services on Sundays, Bible study groups, and children’s ministry.
“Spring of Life is a community of people from different parts of Mayo and Galway,” explained one of the church founders, Olivia McGreal, a teacher from Castlebar. “We are of all ages and backgrounds, from students to farmers, to builders, teachers, and housewives.”
Ms McGreal said the church healed her of lifelong depression.
“We started off as a small family prayer group. I was very sick where I had come to a very bad place in my life and I wanted out. Through the group, I had a healing experience that radically changed my life. I haven’t needed medication over the last 10 years. For me, it was a huge miracle.”
Acquiring the Beaten Path was a welcome surprise for the group.
“We didn’t think it would be possible for us to afford something like this. But we made an offer and it was accepted.
“It needed a lot of work and still needs work,” she added. “We’re relying on people who are volunteering and bringing whatever gifts they can to the table.”
According to Ms McGreal, the new church, which is not under the authority of the Catholic church, wants to “get back to basics” and models itself on the practices of early Christian believers some 2,000 years ago.
“They were a community who helped, prayed, encouraged and supported one another. They met and shared their gifts with each other. This is the kind of community we want to have,” she said.