Aftermath of the fire at Notre Dame

 

Sir, – The European-wide outpouring of emotion and the response to the tragic devastation of Notre Dame illustrates so well what the loss of an iconic monument means to us as a society.

The sudden demise of such a portal into our shared past is, indeed, an appalling loss of patrimony and cultural identity. The realisation that this is now irreversible, adds to its pathos.

In contrast, and by no means on the same scale, there is nonetheless a similar feeling of disbelief, loss and regret felt when even the humblest of our local heritage buildings is lost to us, forever. This applies whether the disappearance is a sudden one, or that of a slow decline, due to neglect.

The reaction to the tragedy of Notre Dame has shown us that our neglected and oft-forgotten built heritage is absolutely worth conserving, and that there will be no second chances. Yours etc

IVOR McELVEEN,

Co Wexford.

Sir, – I was interested to learn that, despite its monopolisation by Roman Catholics, Notre Dame is owned not by the Vatican but by the French government.

With French President Emmanuel Macron having already signalled that he is open to new ideas for rebuilding the cathedral, perhaps it is time to consider reconstructing it as a multi-faith centre for use by all.

For example, the incorporation of a minaret in place of the destroyed spire would be of use to Muslims, while the provision of a cafe or restaurant would be in the spirit of laïcité, the secularism on which the French state is founded, and would appeal to persons of all faiths and none especially if dietary regimes like Kosher, Halal and Veganism were to be catered for.

JOHN EOIN DOUGLAS,

Edinburgh.

A chara, – I must refute the assertion by Peter Hughes (Letters, April 18th) that “countless French monarchs were crowned” in Notre Dame de Paris.

In fact, no French king was ever crowned there. King Henry VI of England was crowned King of France there in 1431, as a 10-year-old boy, but his claim was a disputed one. Almost all French kings were crowned at Reims cathedral. – Is mise,

GERRY LAWLESS,

Co Galway.