Church services make way for Giro

Published Tuesday, 22 April 2014
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Churches in Armagh are getting into the spirit of the Giro d'Italia by agreeing to change the times of their Sunday services to accommodate it.

Church services make way for Giro
Cyclists taking part in the Giro d''Italia. (© Getty)

The cycle race is set to start just after 11am on 11 May, the same time as worship is held at the city's Protestant and Catholic cathedrals - but both have agreed to move.

It marks a break in tradition for this ecclesiastical capital of Ireland.

Father Peter McAnenly said: "It's going to be quite a spectacle in the city and large crowds are expected and for that reason we've had to look at the times of our services on Sunday and reschedule that, due to the fact that there's going to be a large gathering of people.

"We've added an extra service the previous evening."

Dean of Armagh, the Reverend Gregory Dunstan, said: "Once the news of the Giro was getting to us it became clear it would be difficult, if not impossible, to hold normal services that Sunday.

"I consulted with the congregation and we agreed to move the main service to 9pm the evening before and have an early celebration at 7am before the roads are closed."

It is expected that thousands of people will flock to Armagh to witness the Giro d'Italia, which is one of the biggest events in the cycling calendar.

The race will come through the city on the third day of its trip around Northern Ireland, having set off on 9 May for its first stage in Belfast - just 17 days from now.

Locals in Armagh have told UTV they are pleased that the two cathedrals, less than a mile apart, have united to embrace the race.

Marcella said: "It is a one-off and certainly I think everyone in the areas would welcome it."

Patrick said: "It's a good idea, it's not going to be happening every Sunday, this is a one-off and I think they should do it for that one occasion."

Libby said: "I think it's good to see. It's not too often they change the times about but this is a great thing to have coming to Armagh and it's great to see the change."

© UTV News
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