Thursday, 25 June 2009

Minister Joins Celebration Of Historic Graveyard Restoration Project

Rainey Monument after restoration

Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson MP MLA, today joined The Follies Trust at Knockbreda Parish Church in the Castlereagh Borough Council area to celebrate the conservation of two listed mausolea within the historic graveyard, as well as the launch of a related publication, Knockbreda - its monuments and people.

The event marked the culmination of several years of hard work by The Follies Trust, a charity and all-Ireland building preservation trust, which has raised substantial funds through lectures, donations and grant aid to restore the 18th century Greg and Rainey mausolea. Both B+ listed structures were at serious risk due to disrepair but have now been saved for the benefit of present and future generations.

The book, edited by Lydia Wilson, gives a fascinating insight into the people memorialised at Knockbreda - from merchant princes to paupers. It has contributions from Hugh Dixon, Prof James Stevens Curl, Dr Finbar McCormick, Nini Rogers and others.

Speaking before the launch, the Chairman of The Follies Trust, Primrose Wilson CBE, enthused:

“Follies are joyful little buildings which aim to please!”

“These gorgeous structures proclaim to the world the importance of the people buried in them - they played a major role in making Belfast a great industrial city. The mausolea are part of Belfast’s heritage and have received a new lease of life since their restoration."

“The Follies Trust is proud to have played its part in rejuvenating this part of our history. Today at our celebration we are delighted to be joined by the Minister and descendants of the Greg and Rainey families who have traveled from Glasgow, London and Cambridge to be with us.”

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