Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

Home Forums Ireland reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches


It’s interesting that the more we attempt to regulate conservation, the less good we seem to be at it.

In the past, the repair and conservation of buildings of the scale of Cobh Cathedral was entrusted to the hands of a dedicated workshop, a small band of craftsmen with masonry, carpentry and roofing skills, who were based on-site and who were permanently employed on a building that they each knew intimately.

The last time I saw anything remotely like this was as a kid watching the slow methodical restoration of the facade of Bank of Ireland, College Green. From memory, what appeared to have happened here is that some enlightened accountant type in the bank took on two or three experienced stone masons, organized a supply of Portland stone and a few sticks of scaffolding and let them loose in Foster’s Place. After much tapping and chiselling and several years later, the little motley crew had reached Westmoreland Street and the job was done. I have a recollection that the cost was published some time later and it was a shockingly small figure, even for those days.

Now we operate a different system. We’ve stopped seeing conservation as an on-going process, part of the life-story of the building, now we want to see conservation as a defined action that we can ring-fence, package, get done and walk away from.

Sometimes there may be no alternative to this approach, but think of the resources that must be diverted away from actually conserving the building and into the preparation of planning application submissions, statutory notices, method statements, risk assessment analysis and health and safety plans, just to let a bunch of contractors loose on a building that they probably have never seen before, have no inherent understanding of, or perhaps even empathy for.

I don’t think this is just a matter of competence, I think it’s a matter of looking again at the whole approach we take to the conservation of great buildings, like Cobh Cathedral.

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