After the fire at Notre Dame cathedral


Sir, – Perhaps Philip Larkin sums up best why great churches, like Notre Dame, remain so important to us in an increasingly secular age: “A serious house on serious ground it is, /In whose blent air all our compulsions meet /Are recognised, and robed as destinies/ And that much can never be obsolete.”

Our deepest sympathies are with the people of Paris and France. We have all lost something very precious in the flames. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 6.

Sir, – On behalf of Aosdána, (Ireland’s academy of creative artists), the hearts of all of our members go out to the city of Paris and all of France in the wake of the devastating fire at the historic and beautiful cathedral of Notre-Dame.

Irish artists have always cherished our long standing and deep friendship with France. Nous sommes de tout coeur avec vous. Vive la France! – Yours, etc,


Chair, Toscaireacht of



Co Louth.

Sir, – Perhaps the Lady is asking of its French government and citizens to return to Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, and similarly to us Europeans and the wide world to return to these humanitarian principles. – Yours, etc,



Bray, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – “She is our soul, even if one is not a believer”, offered Martine, the pensioner, wisely, dolefully in Lara Marlowe’s poignant account of Paris’s heart-breaking news; a cry from the heart that will resonate beyond the far-flung reaches of Christendom (Front page, April 16th).

And for Lara Marlowe herself, a pivotal week in her country of adoption; the ecstasy of a long-awaited integration as part of the family, followed by the soul-wrenching agony of sharing in its unspeakable loss; a case of paradise regained and paradise lost in the blink of an eye, one might say. And for the rest of us, calamity of calamities. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 13.

Sir, – Quasimodo is homeless. Let’s hope that the French government rebuilds his new home quickly. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

Sir, – I noted your headline “Notre Dame will be rebuilt by all of Europe, say EU leaders” with some joy and relief.

Let’s hope that this sentiment is not put to the test for Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s Cathedral! – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Surely a sense of perspective is required when contemplating the destruction of Notre Dame.

The Irish Times headline “As Notre Dame burned, so too did a part of us” (Jennifer O’Connell, April 16th) and your correspondent’s comparison of the fire with 9/11, despite no loss of life, borders on the ridiculous. Worse, the media reaction is clearly overdone when compared to the general indifference to the destruction of entire cities in the conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, and to the resulting loss of life suffered by those who were not lucky enough to live in Paris (or elsewhere in the West). – Yours, etc,


Ardfield, Co Cork.

A chara, – In the coming days there will be recriminations over the loss of the Notre Dame. Mercifully the 850-year-old stone structure facade remains intact. No doubt analogies will be drawn between the insidious inferno and the Franco-politico landscape. Emmanuel Macron will be vilified because of his condemnation of the yellow vest movement yet it will be workers in yellow vests who will rebuild the Lady of Paris and restore her as a national and international symbol of French culture.

It is true that Macron should focus on his domestic agenda and less perhaps on EU militarisation for example. However, for now it is appropriate that we should show our solidarity with the French people in this dark hour. If Ireland can provide practical and tangible supports to our French friends and neighbours we should do so. It is the right and decent thing to do. – Is mise,


Dublin 17.

Sir, – Lara Marlowe’s wonderful front page report from Paris made sad reading (April 16th).

Notre Dame, however, never saw the trial of Joan of Arc as she was tried in Rouen Cathedral in Normandy. – Yours, etc,


Fairview, Dublin 3. Lara Marlowe adds: It was the re-trial of Joan of Arc, not her initial trial, which took place in Notre Dame in 1455.

Sir, – Are the European Christians weeping at the sight of Notre Dame on fire the same people who vote for governments who deliberately fan the flames of the conflagration in the Middle-East through political interference and the promotion of arms sales? Weep for the dead innocent Muslim civilians – not your architecture. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 24.

Sir, – How could this happen to a wonder of the world?

It seems to me, from some recent cases, that renovation work in historic buildings can place them at risk.

An idea to raise funds ,on a global scale, would be to release a special edition of Hugo’s great novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame in as many languages as practical, with all funds raised going to the renovation fund. Also cinemas and cine clubs could have a special showing of the great film of the same name, that starred Charles Laughton and Ranelagh’s own Maureen O’Hara, again all admission fees/contributions could go to the same fund.

It would also promote great literature and great cinema at the same time. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.

Sir, – I predict that Notre Dame de Paris will be repaired and back in action well before the national children’s hospital in Dublin is open for business. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 9.

Sir, – €300 million to restore a building or, for the sake of argument, €300 million spent improving the social infrastructure of the Saint-Denis arrondissement? – Yours, etc,


Dublin 1.

Sir, – My mind races back 850 years, and imagines the proud Parisian faces follow her gestation, long labour and grand birth . . . and now, to see her skeletal frame succumb to fire, it truly is a monumental symbol for life itself. – Yours, etc,


Clane, Co Kildare.

Sir, – Undoubtedly, it was very, very sad to see this historic and beautiful Paris icon go up in flames, but surely money pledged to rebuild would be better used in fighting issues such as: child poverty, cruelty, homelessness?

Further, some perspective; estimates indicate that 150 million land animals are killed for human consumption each day. Vast amounts of crops are grown to feed these animals which we kill for transparently frivolous reasons, while 36 million people will die of starvation each year.

Our oceans will likely contain more plastic than fish by 2050, and 50 per cent of all species will face extinction by the end of the century – yet we remain relatively unaware and/or silent?

Unfortunately, human beings frequently have a tendency to get sidetracked by “comparatively” trivial matters which can impair our ability to distinguish the wood from the trees. This results in our attention becoming overly bound up with lesser concerns. Giving appropriate emphasis and priority to the most important things within our field-of-view is key. – Yours, etc,



Co Galway.