Keep up to date with the rebuilding of St Mel's Cathedral, Longford

NOVEMBER 2013 - CATHEDRAL RESTORATION UPDATE  - Recently Longford Town Council granted permission for the third phase of the Cathedral Restoration Project. This part of the project involves work being carried out on the exterior of the Cathedral including to the grounds of the Presbytery and around the Family Centre. It will also include work on paving, car parking and access ramps in those areas as well as services and lighting etc. Meanwhile work on phases 1 & 2 continues as a steady pace. Currently there are 76 operatives working on site with many more in the background. Approximately 70% of the people on site are from the County Longford area. During the week work began on installing the storm glazing for the stained glass windows. This work along with the work to the roof means that the building will be completely sealed from the weather in the near future.



JUNE 2012 - CATHEDRAL RESTORATION UPDATE - During the springtime we received two approvals from Longford Town Council.


1. One was a Section 57 in relation to replacing all limestone columns, pilasters etc. This work is ongoing. After a tender process a quarry has been appointed to make the stonework. Currently a number of building firms (including local ones) are tendering to carry out the building work. It is anticipated that they will be on site during the summertime.


2. The second approval was the granting of planning permission in relation to a new roof, new floors etc. An objection has been made to this. The matter now rests with An Bord Pleanála. We are not in a position to proceed with these works until the Bord makes a judgement which will most likely take a number of months


MAY 2012 - CATHEDRAL RESTORATION UPDATE - As announced some weeks ago, the Cathedral Restoration Project was recently given two approvals from Longford Town Council.


One is a Section 57 allowing us to replace all columns, internal plaster, and to repair damaged stonework.


The second is a planning permission in relation to new roof, new floors and associated works. An objection to this has been lodged to an Bord Pleanála.


The Heritage group An Taisce commented on the plans as follows: "This welcome proposal reflects credit on the design team appointed by St. Mel’s Diocesan Trust in researching and putting forward a detailed proposal for the fire damaged cathedral."


While the planning permission will now have to go through the Bord Pleanála appeal process, the tendering for the Section 57 works is on-going with a view to starting these works in the summertime.

While the Cathedral fire was a great disaster, ironically it will bring a huge building project to our town, injecting substantial monies into the local economy. An enormous amount of time and energy has been invested in the Cathedral Restoration Project by the Project Committee, Design Team and others so it is regrettable that this objection has been submitted.

APRIL 2012 - CATHEDRAL RESTORATION UPDATE - Over the past few months the Cathedral Restoration Project has continued to advance well. In the past two weeks we reached two significant milestones. The planning application lodged in January to Longford Town Council was granted. This application applies largely to a new roof and new floors.


Longford Town Council have also granted a Section 57 approval in respect of the following works – replacement of limestone columns, internal plaster to walls, repairs to the external dress stone etc. We are delighted to have been granted these two permissions and they should bring the construction phase of the project ever closer.

The next phase will be the tendering process and hopefully it will be possible to begin the works in the coming summertime. We have suffered a great loss with the Cathedral fire but ironically it’s restoration will bring a huge building project to our community and will be a major boost to the local economy.

MARCH 2012 - CATHEDRAL RESTORATION PROGRESS - St. Mel’s Cathedral Project Committee is pleased to announce the appointment of Fratelli Ruffatti, a renowned Italian firm, to design and build the organ for the renewed St. Mel’s Cathedral.


This is a significant milestone as the organ will be one of the key features in the restored Cathedral.


Fratelli Ruffatti are a second generation family firm of specialist organ builders based in Padua; they have an outstanding reputation for quality and craftsmanship and we are confident that the proposed organ will be a truly beautiful enhancement of the building.


We acknowledge the assistance of and sincerely thank the organ subcommittee, comprising of a team of national and local experts who guided the Project Committee in this decision.


As part of the discernment process a number of criteria were considered and the Fratelli Ruffatti tender was recommended as the preferred supplier on the basis of musicality, design and value for money. Their web site: www.ruffatti.com.


THE RECENT PLANNING APPLICATION submitted to Longford Town Council for the Cathedral Restoration relates primarily to the structural elements of the building to include new roof, floors, stone-works etc. Some of the drawings in relation this planning application are available for viewing in the Assembly Hall after Masses this weekend.


February 2012


CATHEDRAL RESTORATION PROGRESS - The Cathedral Restoration Project remains a very comprehensive and complex project. Thankfully it is progressing well. We have just submitted a Planning Application to Longford Town Council. You may have noticed the site notices and advertisement in the Longford Leader. This application applies primarily to new roof, gutters, floors and associated works.

CATHEDRAL RESTORATION RESERVE FUND - As the Cathedral Restoration Project continues to develop it is evident that we will have to carry some costs which will fall outside our insurance claim. While the fire was a great disaster, it is also an opportunity to develop the building for the future. Such improvements are known as enhancement or betterment. Examples include – improved toilet facilities, improved landscaping, provision of lifts, etc.

We have continued to receive generous donations from the public throughout 2011. These funds are held in the name of ‘Friends of St. Mel’s Cathedral’ and overseen by the Parish Finance Committee.

A diocesan wide collection will be taken up this weekend in aid of this fund. Thank you for your generosity.

CATHEDRAL RESTORATION UPDATE - 25th November 2011 - The repairs to the statues on the front of the Cathedral are nearing completion. The statues were installed in the early 1890’s and so they have suffered approximately 120 years of weathering causing deterioration, cracking, etc. Repairs have also been carried out to lead flashings etc.

148 objects from the Museum were salvaged. Under the supervision of the National Museum, a professional curator, Kasia Bernaciak, has been appointed to conserve, clean and stablilise these artefacts. The time capsule recently found while the statues were being repaired is also with the National Museum for assessment.

The temporary investigative works and trial repairs contract will be completed in the coming weeks. This involved trial cleaning, tests for geo thermal heating, steel support to the columns, sample plasterwork, preparations for the Open Day, ground investigation and replacement of one column. These works will greatly inform and assist the Design Team in their on-going work to plan the restoration of the Cathedral. It is hoped that the restoration proper will begin next Spring/Summer.

Christmas Day Fire at St Mel's Cathedral
St Mel's Cathedral, One Year On.
Open Day at St Mel's Cathedral - Image Gallery
Repairs to the Portico - Image Gallery
Trial Plastering - Image Gallery
June & July in the Cathedral - Image Gallery
360 Degree Image of St Mel's Cathedral

Keep up-to-date with events and developments at St Mel's Cathedral - http://www.longfordparish.com