St Mary’s Church of Ireland has revealed that their popular concerts programme attracted a whopping €250,000 to the local economy in 2018 alone.
Some 50 concerts took place at the landmark church this year, raising €25,000 for the Church Restoration Fund in the process. An analysis of the benefits to the wider community was recently completed and the results show that the recitals are worth 10 times that figure to the town of Killarney.
Visiting choirs boost the economy by spending money on accommodation, food and drink, and leisure activities during their stay. The concerts have been running for over 10 years so it is estimated that the town may have already benefitted to the tune of €2 million.
The acoustics at St Mary’s Church are highly regarded by performers, making it extremely popular with visiting choirs and orchestras from North America and Europe. Its beauty and location are also unique selling points.
“We were both surprised and delighted when we saw the figures,” the Rector of Killarney, Archdeacon Simon J Lumby, said.
“It’s great that the church is able to lift the economic wellbeing of the community; it’s a part of our spiritual task of ‘loving our neighbour’. We are especially delighted for our hotel sector and local tour operators who see the benefit of this uplift.
“The town shows its support to us. We remember gratefully the superb community effort to restore the church railings.”
Archdeacon Lumby stressed that running these concerts was challenging considering the church’s relatively small congregation, and any help in this area would be greatly appreciated.
“We are always looking to add volunteers to our stewarding rota; it takes three people to maintain the safety and comfort of visitors at a concert,” he said.
“The church will welcome any offers of help in this regard so that they can accept more concert bookings in the coming years and continue to grow this
worthwhile enterprise, not just for the social benefit and leisure of locals and visitors alike, but also for the economic value it represents to our fabulous town.”