NEW LIFE FOR CARRICK FRIARY:
Respond! Housing Agency has opened sheltered housing at the old friary in Carrickbeg, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary. The friary and gardens had been donated to the agency by the Franciscans.
The original Carrickbeg friary was founded in 1336 by James Butler, Earl of Desmond. When persecution came and the building and lands surrendered to the Crown, the friars continued to live and work among the people in secret. A church was finally built again in 1822.
In April 2006 the Franciscans closed the friary due to falling vocations. They donated the friary and gardens to Respond! Housing Agency for the development of a sheltered housing estate for older persons, and they offered the church to the Carrick-on-Suir Development Association for use as a heritage centre and museum for the town. These in making these donations the Franciscans have safeguarded their patrimony for the benefit of the community at large.
On Friday 6th May the new housing was officially opened by Phil Hogan, TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. This department had helped fund the project, along with South Tipperary County Council and Carrick-on-Suir Town Council. The development now consists of the Friary Gardens, Friary House and Abbey House, and contains seven homes for older people, two apartments and one eight-bed group home. This group home will be available for charitable groups in South Tipperary and the surrounding areas for short term respite care. There is an increasing demand for these type of respite centres for adults with special needs; the community will now benefit from this superb new facility.
Fr Pat Cogan, OFM, CEO of Respond! Housing Association, had served in the Carrick friary himself. He reflected that life moves on and what was unthinkable for centuries has happened. The friars had returned the Franciscan church and property to the people and he was pleased the link with the Order in Carrick is being retained.
He said that the housing development and its communal facilities will benefit not only residents but also the local community. “Friary Gardens will be used primarily to accommodate older residents as Respond! has always recognised the need for good quality independent accommodation for older people. We work alongside existing community-based support services to create an enabling framework of supports that allow our residents to live independently and experience as good a quality of life in their own home for as long as possible. Friary Gardens also contains a group home which will be used as a respite centre for disabled adults supported by local voluntary groups in South Tipperary and surrounding areas.”
Fr Caoimhin Ó Laoide, OFM, Minister Provincial, said it was an occasion of great delight, in contrast to five years ago when there was great sorrow over the friars leaving Carrick. He congratulated Fr Pat Cogan and Respond!.
Respond! Regional Manger, Tom Power, welcomed the many present, including the residents and many friars who had served in the friary over the years. He thank the Minister Provincial, Fr Caoimhin Ó Laoide, OFM, the generous donation of the property