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Iconic former church building up for sale — and may be converted into a home


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Iconic former church building up for sale — and may be converted into a home Iconic former church building up for sale — and may be converted into a home

The historic Columban Hall on Sea Road, which has been put up for sale, is expected by auctioneers to fetch close to half a million euro.

The 161-year-old former church building will go to auction on May 8 at the property — it already has a price tag of €460,000 but Wilson Auctioneers in Dublin told the Galway City Tribune that it could achieve much more than this given its history.

Originally built as a Congregational Church in the 19th century, it closed after numbers in the congregation dwindled and was bought in 1919 by the Jesuit community based just down the road from it and in whose ownership it has remained since.

For many years it was a cultural hub, playing host to dramatic performances by a number of groups, as well as ‘Jes’ school plays, and various concerts and sporting events like boxing tournaments.

It also served as a base for Our Lady’s Boys’ Club, the longest running youth club in the country, whose headquarters today are behind the building.

The auctioneers say that there has been considerable interest in the property pre-auction and they expect that it will achieve the half a million mark.

“We have a lot of interest in the old church building but it will be going to auction and given the amount of interest, we expect it will achieve its reserve price,” a spokesperson said yesterday.

She added that it would suit someone who might want to redevelop the former church and turn it into a domestic home. She said that it would cost a considerable amount to do this.

The freestanding gable-fronted former Congregational church was built in 1863. The property comprises a four-bay single-storey nave, with single-bay chancel and a single-bay former vestry with recent extension and gabled porch to front.

Our Lady’s Boys’ Club, which is located in a building to the rear of the Columban Hall, has confirmed that the sale of the building will have no impact on them.

The club was set up in 1941 by Fr Leonard Shiel SJ at a time when there was a lot of grinding poverty in Galway and no recreational facilities or extra-curricular activities for young people in areas like the Claddagh, Bohermore, Shantalla and ‘The West’.

Secretary of the Club, Pat Giles, told the Galway City Tribune that he understood that the sale would not impact their operations and that their building had “a different owner”.

Pictured: The Columban Hall on Sea Road dates back to 1963. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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