FRIENDS of a former West Belfast teacher who tragically died in a house fire are raising funds to reroof and rebuild the home where she perished. 

Nóirín Uí Chléirigh – a teacher, artist and trailblazing community activist – passed away on March 8. Her friend Helena Foley has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to restore Nóirín's house in the Glenties area of Donegal.

Helena said that the house, which was destroyed in the fire that claimed Nóirín's life, is not covered by insurance.

Nóirín's cottage in Glenties

Nóirín's cottage in Glenties

She is hoping to raise €50,000 to rebuild the cottage and "keep Nóirin’s memory alive".

"Nóirin’s home was in Kilraen, Glenties County Donegal, a simple but treasured cottage, a refuge and safe haven for Nóirín and her beloved daughter, where they enjoyed the peace and quiet of the simple life," Helena said.

"The fire and tragic loss of Nóirin’s life has sent shock and devastation through the community in Glenties and her hometown of Belfast. It has left her family grief-stricken and in disbelief. In these weeks after the fire they are still trying to come to terms with the reality of the devastation and enormous loss of the life of a treasured mother, grandmother, sister and aunty.

"Nóirín’s cottage lies destroyed and in ruin after the fire, with only the four walls remaining. Unfortunately insurance will not cover the cost to rebuild the cottage, and no money could ever replace the loss of Nóirin.

"My ask is that we can raise funds so the cottage can be restored to keep Nóirin’s memory alive and give a place of comfort and refuge to her family and the various artists, musicians and friends who were always welcomed throughout the years. Even though it will never be the same, my hope is it will be a place to remember in, the inspirational woman lost to all who loved her. Every donation will be a building block in the right direction and appreciated more than you would ever know".

Nóirín was chair of Glór na nGael in West Belfast when it was among community groups who had their funding stopped by the British government.

She spearheaded the campaign which overturned the Northern Ireland Office's so-called political vetting policy, which saw it starve community organisations of funding due to  spurious allegations of "links to paramilitary organizations" back in the 1980s and 1990s.

A former art teacher, Nóirín worked in Coláiste Feirste for several years and was a renowned artist and jeweller in her own right. 

She also found acclaim as a singer of traditional music, and was also known as a broadcaster at Raidió Fáilte.