THE RESTORATION WORK
Our location, on the west coast, means the building is not spared the ravages of wind and rain coming from 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 each side of the Cathedral entrance. The problem lies in the turrets.
The Cathedral was repointed some years ago in hard cement which has a tendency to crack allowing entry of minute quantities of moisture which is subsequently unable to escape resulting in this moisture travelling through to the soft rubble stone core and subsequently into the Cathedral interior.
It was difficult to ensure that the bedding mortar for such a fine joint during the original construction and the pointing mortar has nothing left behind it. Even if the original pointing mortar was correctly installed it had a tendency to be eroded by moisture and exposure.
A regime of pointing and grouting has now completed on the roof of both turret towers at the front of the building. The grout which is lime based was introduced through a special syringe and designed to flow back into the original bed joints.
The main pointing in the towers although not ideal (sand and cement) is in good condition and defective areas are now repointed and treated with a special water repellent which has been very effective on similar landmark buildings.
This, the initial project, is aimed not only to eliminate water ingress in the towers but also to give an indication of the potential improvement in performance for the whole building as further necessary works progress.
The specialist work was carried out by Michael McHale and G&M Construction under the supervision of Southgate Associates Building Conservation Solutions providing John Fahy of Nolan Quinlan Architects, Sligo with 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.
Under the recommendations of Southgate the following works have now been carried out by our specialist contractors:
- Complete repointing of the roof of the turret with water repellent treatment
- Water repellent treatment of the top section of turrets
Some €130,000 has now been expended to complete the sealing of both turrets.