Friends of St James' Dingle
“Ní Neart go Cur le Chéile” for St James’ Church, Dingle.
As Dingle town and its iconic St James’ Church get ready to play host to Other Voices this weekend for the 17th year, a charity group entitled ‘Friends of St James, Dingle’ has been formed to address the conservation needs of this heritage building and to manage the fundraising & other associated works. As the saying goes, ‘ní neart go cur le chéile’ / it’s all about working together. Rev Phyllis Jones, Minister of the church, explains: ‘ St James’ Church needs up to €500,000 to carry out essential repairs and conservation work to bring it into the 21st century where it will continue to serve as a shared creative and spiritual space for both the community and visitors to the area’. Philip King, Director of Other Voices, adds: ‘We are so grateful to all at the Church Of St James for their welcome and hospitality over the last 17 years. This small, beautifully appointed church located right in the centre of Dingle is the home of Other Voices and at the heart of the whole affair. With no town hall, no arts centre and no open community space in Dingle, St James has generously opened its doors to receive the musicians and artists who have enriched the lives of the local community and visitors alike. The building and the grounds are beautiful but need attention and care. With that attention St James can continue to provide a sanctuary for its own community and an essential receiving house for artists and musicians local, national and international”
The current building dates back to 1807 but Spanish merchants paid for the original medieval church and dedicated it to St James of Santiago de Compostela. It has always been an integral part of heritage of the Dingle Peninsula and, in more recent times, attained world-wide fame as the beautiful, intimate venue for the Other Voices music series. Amy Winehouse, David Gray, The National and Glen Hansard are among the many artists who have performed here. It also serves as a venue for lectures, movie screenings, concerts and other artistic events. For the small Church of Ireland community in West Kerry and its Minister, the sharing of a place of worship with the wider community is a given. The work of Friends of St James’ Dingle will seek to explore other uses for this building in the community with the potential it has. The conservation and renovation project, as well as addressing essential structural repairs, will include provision to reflect multi-purpose use – there will be toilet facilities, a new heating system and the addition of a separate changing room for performers as well as a recessed stage that can be folded away under the altar when not in use for concerts.