McMonagle Stone have spent the past 16 months renovating St Columbs Cathedral, the oldest and best known of Derry’s landmarks.
McMonagle, based in Mountcharles, Co Donegal, are one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of natural stone in Ireland. They operate five quarries of their own in Donegal but for the work on St Columbs they had to turn to England for Clipsham and Peak Moor stone. They also had one window to replace in Hexham stone, which fortunately they had in their yard left over from a previous job.
The English stone was used for masonry in the original construction of the cathedral in the 14th and 15th centuries and clearly needed to be matched for the latest work. The oldest parts of the church are in the Millstone Grit and the Chapter House, added later, is in the limestone now being matched by Clipsham.
McMonagle Stone specialise in all aspects of building cleaning and stone restoration and are used to advising clients on the most appropriate methods of repair. Their works on St Columbs included cleaning by gentle water washing, chemical cleaning and dry grit blasting using more technically advanced systems such as the Rotec Whirl Jet System.
Following the cleaning, the repairs could begin. This project is assessed closely with the design team and the appropriate repair carried out taking into consideration the extent of the decay, the materials, the durability and the budget confinements.
Wherever possible the original façade was maintained but some stone had to be replaced, including ornate tracery.
McMonagle Stone are proud of their craftsmen and believe good masonry has a close relationship to good architecture and we ensure that we work closely with our clients. All their masonry is designed and produced in house and their on-site fixers are fully qualified for dressing in any stone for even the most complicated repair work.