VISNEWS cameras visited the tiny village of Blessington, County Wicklow, Eire recently, filming the one man struggle save what must be one of the most picturesque villages in Ireland from extinction.
VISNEWS cameras visited the tiny village of Blessington, County Wicklow, Eire recently, filming the one man struggle save what must be one of the most picturesque villages in Ireland from extinction. The Very Reverend Daniel Lucey, Parish priest, came to the village four years ago when the population was 500, today there are 250. Blessington once had a population of 2,500 with over 100 Baptisms every year, now half a dozen is usual. Father Lucey has officiated at only one wedding in the past two years.
Reason for the emigration, local industry has dwindled until it is now almost non-existent.
Unsightly buildings have been erected and abandoned by County Wicklow Council..a public convenience erected in the village square has decayed gradually to an evil smelling eyesore..broken footpaths sprout weeds.. public thoroughfares are bordered by stagnant refuse..and the entrance to the village had a garbage dump 60 yards long... over 300 empty tar barrels litter the village.
While others asked "why", practical Father Lucey organized the Blessington Development Association and starred a clean up campaign. His main concern is for his Parishioners and has already started several schemes to give them a happier social life and some local industry. Six local men and women are working full time on five old hand looms, bought by Father Lucey in Dublin auction rooms and erected in a Blessington garage.. also bought by the good Father. This tweed manufacturing 'industry' is called 'Blessing Weavers', At the same time he directing construction of a factory, and for this two more hand looms, four automatic looms and two scarf looms are on order.
St Joseph's Parish Hall has been originated into a successful rural dance hall. Three bus loads of dancers from Dublin descend on the village for the Sunday night 'hop' and the hall seldom has less than 500 dancers enjoying themselves.
Father Lucey is steadfast in his resolve to stop Blessington from degenerating into seediness to which so many Irish villages succumb.