Of a sort Andrew. They’re works taking place as part of the wider conservation plan launched for the Cathedral in 2006. The scaffolding went up roundabout November – it’s quite a sight!
The tower has been a source of damp inside the cathedral for some time, with a poor roof joint abutting the tower causing water to run down the wall of the nave. Water entering the louvres of the tower is also apparently collecting on the floor inside and soaking into the walls. Added to this is the fact that the tower was repointed with cement in the 1980s, hindering the evaporation of water, while some lower parts of the tower still feature remnants of lime render, possibly a reactionary measure from the 18th or 19th centuries.
So the render and cement pointing is being removed, and the entire tower being repointed in lime mortar – a massive undertaking. The spire was done last year, and the west front facing Patrick Street the year before that I think. The latter gives a good idea I’d imagine as to what the tower will look like when finished: pristine light grey with oh-so-precise delicate white joints. Maybe the stone won’t be cleaned though.