The Heritage Centre
St Kilian's Heritage Centre was built by the local community in association with the Diocese of Würzburg in southern Germany. The centre features many relics and replicas of the saint.
A well-stocked exhibition area opens on to a small video theatre where one may view a short film on the life of St. Kilian.
The Centre also houses a craft shop where visitors may select artistic items of interest from a range of locally produced work.
Adjoining the craft shop is a comfortable dining area where one may relax over lunch or coffee.
Just outside is a beautiful picnic area where, on a sunny day, you can enjoy your coffee whilst taking in the picturesque environment of Mullagh, Co. Cavan.
The Centre is owned and managed by the Saint Kilian's Heritage Trust which has been granted Charitable Status by the Revenue Commissioners.
Aims of the Project
- To document for posterity an almost forgotten link between Mullagh and Würzburg which dates back to the 7th Century.
- To satisfy the demand of German visitors for further information on their spiritual roots.
- To expand the Mullagh - Würzburg links with a view to attracting more visitors to the area.
- The Heritage Centre is central to an overall programme for tourism being developed for the Mullagh area.
Development of the St. Kilian Project 1986-1988
The St. Kilian Committee was set up to develop the Mullagh - Würzburg links and cater for the official Würzburg tours visiting Mullagh. Bonds were strengthened by the friendship extended to the tour groups by the local community who provided meals in the local school General Purpose Room.
St. Kilian's Well at Longfield was restored and devotions there on the 7th July each year were restored.
In 1989, a limestone statue was commissioned by the Committee for the grounds of St. Kilian's Church. The first official tour group from Mullagh, comprising of 90 people, visited Würzburg for the 13th Centenary of St. Kilian's Martyrdom. A Bavarian band from Rudenau in Germany visited Mullagh and Cavan for 6 days. A limewood statue of St. Kilian, commissioned by a member of the Bavarian Parliament, Herr Christian Will, was presented to St. Kilian's Church in Mullagh.
One hundred Germans attended Centenary celebrations in Mullagh, which was attended by Cardinal O'Fiach and the German Ambassador, Herr Helmut Rűckriegel. A special St. Kilian Stamp was issued by the German and Irish Governments on the same day to mark the 13th Centenary.
In 1990, the Committee hosted a number of German tour groups in Mullagh and continued to strengthen the link between the two communities. In 1991, a first class relic of St. Kilian (a bone splinter) was brought back to Mullagh by the Bishop of Würzburg amid great celebrations. It is housed in a special Reliquary provided in St. Kilian's Church.
A second group of 45 members of the community visited Würzburg for the Kilianfest in 1991. The plans for the St. Kilian's Heritage Centre were drawn up and a successful application was made to the International Fund for Ireland for grant aid. Over the following 12 months, the balance of the financial package was negotiated with various agencies.
In 1992, the restoration of Teampaill Cheallaigh Cemetery was undertaken by the Committee with the help of FÁS funding and was successfully completed over a 12 month period. The project won a regional FÁS award. The ruins of the Medieval Church of St. Kilian were secured and preserved. This important site is referred to in a letter in the archives of Propaganda in Rome, dated 27th September 1715.
The cemetery also holds 320 famine graves. The oldest grave marker dates back to 1683. The Rudenau Brass Band returned to Mullagh and took part in the Dublin St. Patrick's Day parade. The Committee provided a bus for the band for their stay in Ireland.
1993 - 1994
In 1993, the Heritage Centre was commenced. St. Kilian's Trust was set up to build and run the centre. It was completed and officially opened by President Mary Robinson on the 7th May 1995. A 12 minute film on St. Kilian was made by Telegael at a cost of €12,000 sponsored by Wellman International.
The main part of the exhibition was prepared in Würzburg and was donated to the centre by the Würzburg Diocese.The Committee wish to place on record their appreciation to the Bishop of Würzburg, Paul Werner Scheele, Monsigmor Jurgen Lenssen, Canon of the Cathedral Chapter in Würzburg, Werner Haussner, who was the Press Secretary for Würzburg Diocese, Dr. Adolf Bauer, Financial Director for Würzburg Diocese, and Jürgen Gottschalk, Chairman of the German - Irish Society of Würzburg for their help and support.