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


And still on the subject of cathedral restoration, I notice their talking about David Slattery over on another thread . I don’t know if the following information is actual confirmation or perhaps just a suggestion that David Slattery is going to be the architect in charge of the whole restoration of St. Mel’s Cathedral, or merely that he is acting as a consultant for the preparatory works.


After fire wreaked havoc in the interior of St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford, Hegarty Demolition led the team that worked to stabilize the building and salvage as much as possible of its precious contents

Following Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve 2009, a fire at St Mel’s destroyed the interior of the cathedral at Longford, along with most of its furnishings and fittings. On Christmas Day, Hegarty Demolition had a team of experts in position. The first tasks to be performed were to create a safe external perimeter and to provide assistance to the Longford Fire Brigade.

Over the next few days, the team provided temporary propping and wind-bracing to the main superstructure to make the building safe. Following this preliminary work, the Hegarty team, which grew to over 20 at peak, braced the walls, propped the standing columns and prepared 3D scans of surviving interior finishes. These scans will be vital in restoring the cathedral to its former glory.

Hegarty Demolition worked in association with experts from the National Museum of Ireland, along with leading conservation architect firm David Slattery & Company, Moylan Consulting Engineers, Barrett Mahony Consulting Engineers and Interactive Project Managers Ltd. Further bracing of structural items involved fitting specially made steel collars around the cracked and unstable pillars. Specific propping to the underside of the column arches can be seen on where a full project brief and up-to-date progress bulletins are available.

One of the casualties was the content of the Diocesan Museum, located at the rear of the cathedral. Assembled in the 1930s and 40s by the late Fr Michael Kearney, President of St Mel’s College, the collection was moved to the cathedral in 1974.

Painstaking removal
The team performed a painstaking removal of all the fire debris, sieving each load in order to salvage as much as possible. Their efforts have been rewarded in that over 30 per cent of the treasures from St Mel’s Museum have been recovered.

The collection included almost 500 items and ranked among the finest ecclesiastical archives in the country, containing a variety of ecclesiastical material as well as objects of archaeological, historical and ethnographical interest. It included a number of objects of national importance, including the Ninth Century Crozier of St Mel, patron of the diocese, which was found at Ardagh, Co. Longford in the 19th Century. Equally important were, the Shrine of St Caillinn of Fenagh, Co. Leitrim – a book shrine dated to 1536 and associated with Brian O’Rourke, Lord of Breifne – and the 12th Century Clog na Rígh – ‘bell of the kings’ – also associated with St Caillinn.Of particular local interest were a number of ceremonial keys and trowels used in commemorating the foundations of the cathedral and other parish churches in the diocese.

Objects recovered
A significant number of objects have survived and have been recovered. All have suffered fire damage and it is not yet clear how successful the conservation process will be. Among the objects recovered are the Shrine of St Caillinn, which is largely intact and a portion of the Crozier of St Mel.

Among the other objects found were an early iron hand-bell from Wheery, Co. Offaly and a 13th Century crozier made at Limoges in France. Regrettably, the collection of vestments, penal crosses, altar vessels of pewter and silver, and works in paper were lost. In all, over 200 objects have been recovered and these have now been removed to a stable environment at the National Museum of Ireland for safekeeping and their condition is currently being assessed. The Museum is working closely with the diocese to develop a conservation strategy for the objects recovered.

Commenting on the project, Liam Hogan, managing director of Hegarty Demolition Ltd, is particularly proud of its success in salvaging the stained glass windows. “These were by Harry Clarke and were a much-loved feature of the old cathedral,” he reports. “The surviving windows have been removed for restoration and any fragments of the damaged windows have been retrieved and will be available for restoration.”

Hegarty Demolition has succeeded in stabilizing the building, having placed a temporary roof in position and ensured that the whole structure is fully weathered and in a suitable state of preparedness for reconstruction.

ONQ has put up David Slattery’s contact details. .I’m tinkering that maybe I should just ring Mr Slattery & ask him what his involvement is. . He’d probably, quite rightly tell me to get lost & mind me own. .But what the hell. . Nothing ventured. . Nothing gained 😉

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