Lecture by Colm Redmond on the Restoration of St Mel’s Cathedral – 20th October 2016

Colm Redmond, Lead Architect from Fitzgerald, Kavanagh & Partners who worked with the late Richard Hurley to transform St Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, is giving a lecture at 7pm on Thursday 20th October 2016 in the Crescent Arts Centre,Belfast. The lecture has been organised by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS)

St. Mel’s, built in the neo-classical style between 1840-1893, was severely damaged by fire on the 25th of December 2009. The interior of the basilica type building, including stone columns and timber roof with barrel vaulted ceiling was destroyed. The brief was to restore the Cathedral to its former architectural glory whilst developing a liturgical setting fitting of a Cathedral for the 21st century, in time for the 5 year anniversary of the fire. The vision was to create a space which, while respecting the rich architectural heritage of the basilican plan, embraces the people by the noble simplicity of its liturgical re-ordering.

The Conservation strategy was to retain as much of the original building fabric as possible. Where this could not be achieved due to the extreme damage, materials were replaced on a like-for-like basis using traditional skills and details.

Research was undertaken to determine the retention of the remaining structure and to develop a methodology for replacement on a like for like basis. The greatest challenge was the replacement of the 28 Ionic Limestone columns while supporting the remaining arches and masonry walls above. Limestone was quarried and carved inIrelandand all 28 columns were replaced over a 12 month period.

The sanctuary area was redesigned with appropriate space for the Cathedra, presiding chair, Ambo and Cross. The liturgical arrangement establishes an axial relationship between the Baptismal font, Altar table at a central location and Tabernacle. The organ and choir are relocated close to the sanctuary area, allowing sacred music form an integral part of the liturgy.

Modern liturgical Art is an important part of the project. The Architects worked closely with national and international Artists and Sculptors with experience in Liturgical Art in the design of the many works, including stained Glass windows Altar, Ambo, Tabernacle, Baptismal font, Cross, Cathedra and Stations of the Cross.

Cost of the lecture is £10 for UAHS members of and £12 for non-members £12. A glass of wine is included.

Click here to book online