St. Mel's Cathedral, one of Ireland's finest churches, was burnt to the ground in Longford town early on Christmas morning. Irish police are investigating. The blaze began shortly after 5.a.m.
Midnight mass had been celebrated in the cathedral by the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Colm O'Reilly, who later said the Cathedral was completely destroyed.
He stated that the building was burned out from end to end.
Construction began on the St Mel's in 1840 and it was seen as one of the the finest churches in Ireland. The firs started just hours after crowds packed the cathedral.
An Irish police crime scene investigation unit are at the scene but there are no indications as what caused the blaze.