THE RESTORATION OF SLIGO CATHEDRAL
A Bit of History
Our Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was opened on 26th of July, 1874 by Cardinal Paul Cullen of Dublin and consecrated on 1st of July 1897.
The Cathedral is built in a Norman Romanesque style, and it is the only Norman styled cathedral in Ireland but more importantly it is a dearly loved place of worship for parishioners. The ‘Cathedral’, as it is known, is a constant presence in our town and in our hearts. Countless numbers have marked the pivotal, central moments of their lives and those of loved ones within its walls. While the world is busy outside, inside all remains calm and tranquil in the embrace of our beloved church.
Over the next few years a number of projects will be undertaken to ensure our Cathedral remains a place of gathering and worship for our community.
- Repointing the Turrets at rear of Cathedral to be completed in January 2017
- Isolating cause of dampness in East and West transept and eliminating same
- Isolating cause of dampness in St Joseph’s altar area (beside sacristy entrance) and eliminating same.
- Repairing paving outside Cathedral
- Improving car park
Work Undertaken since September 2016
Our location on the west coast means the building is not spared the ravages of wind and rain coming off the Atlantic. This has taken its toll on the building and has resulted in water getting through the turrets and onto the stairwells leading to the gallery and choir areas at the rear of the building. The problem lies in the turrets.
The Cathedral was repointed, at some time, in hard cement pointing which as a tendency to crack allowing minute quantities of moisture in but moisture is subsequently unable to escape getting into the soft rubble stone core and passing in to the building.
It was sometimes difficult to ensure bedding mortar for such a fine joint during original construction and the pointing mortar has nothing left behind it. Even if the original pointing mortar was correctly installed it sometimes becomes eroded by moisture and exposure.
A regime of pointing and grouting has been recommended on the roof of both towers at the rear of the building. The grout which is lime based will be introduced through a special syringe and designed to flow back into the original bed joints.
The main pointing in the tower although not ideal (sand and cement) is in good condition and defective areas are to be repointed and we have recommended a special water repellent which has been very effective on similar buildings.
This the initial project is aimed not only to sort out water ingress in the tower under consideration but also give an indication of the potential improvement in performance for the whole building.
The specialist work is to be carried out by Michael McHale under the supervision of the main contractor and Southgate Associates will provide John Fahy Architect with the specialist experience and advice.
Many similar buildings are experiencing damp problems and we hope that this careful approach will give the necessary feedback and information to carry out a focused repair and conservation regime in the future. The objective will be to do as little as possible and as much as necessary.
Project exempt from Planning Permission December 5th 2016
Recommendations from Southgate
- Complete repointing of the roof of the turret with water repellent treatment
- Water repellent treatment of the top section of turret
- Work to be carried out by a specialist contractor
September 1st 2106 Nolan Quinlan Architects appointed Project Supervisor for Design Process and Construction Stage supervising works as follows:
G&M Construction appointed for two phases as follows:
- Roof refurbishment work for the turrets at rear of the Cathedral.
- Installation of lead tray where turret roof abuts to the main building to prevent water ingress of the Cathedral.