steepleless

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Lower Mill Road seems like its own little village but it’s actually right at the end of Concession, a very small village, first settled in 1818.

Like nearly every other village in Clare, the most prominent landmark is its church, though in Concession “The Green Store” on the corner is more likely to be mentioned, the Notre Dame du Mont Carmel Roman Catholic Church is the first thing you’ll notice.

I didn’t attend Church as a child, my mother taught us what we should know about Jesus’ teaching, and the only time I really remember going inside was for our neighbor’s wedding, and maybe another time with my dad when he was called to fix something, but seeing the church on the hill always meant we were almost home, not a bad association, really…

When I arrived home after more than five years away, I was eager to head up the road and take a few photos of the church to bring back to Korea. It ended up being a couple of weeks before I actually gathered my camera and lenses but apparently I was a day late. Or, from another perspective, I got there exactly in time to see them taking down the steeple!

For the rest of the time I was home, every time we went out and came back again, something just didn’t feel right. It was kind of like looking at a chin without a face…

Unfortunately, most of the churches are closing. There hasn’t been much support lately, and there’s been no money to maintain them. When I was younger, this probably would have pleased me, but with an evolved understanding, acquired from Buddhism, I now see things differently. Despite our opinion of other religions, beneath the differences, the goal to be better people remains. Even though the Church has had its issues, it’s seems as though there are even more problems arising in its absence.

For more than merely nostalgic or sentimental sake, it was an unfortunate sight to find the steeple collapsed and in pieces on the ground.

I managed to get this shot through the window of the car when we first arrived home.
It came out blurry from the rainy day and the motion of the car,
but it looks pretty good filtered through “dry brush” in Photoshop!

5 responses »

  1. Hi Joseph,
    They’re still using the church, but the steeple was rotten, and so instead of replacing it, they just removed it and put less expensive roof on? The bell looks like it hasn’t been rung in a long time.

  2. I’m pretty sure it’s closed now.
    One of the nicest churches, built form stone bricks sent from France, has been closed for a few years but they’re using it occasionally for music concerts, I guess the acoustics are amazing!

  3. Chong Go Sunim is right, Joseph. I got the scoop from Denis Pana, who’s on the church committee, at a meeting at Claredon’s last year. The parish didn’t have enough money to replace the steeple so they used what they had afford to make the repair and still do have services there, though in Saturday evenings now, due to the scarcity of priests to conduct Mass.
    I, too, am saddened by the church closures. Though never a practicing Catholic, I spent many peaceful hours in churches everywhere I lived and traveled. The loss of sacred space is regrettable under any circumstances.

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