An Education in Restoration

Triona Byrne and Róisín Beirne of S.P.A.B. (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) pictured at An Cabhail Mhór in North Clare. Photo: Clare County Council.

By Mary Gallagher, Assistant Editor
September / October 2018

Over 70 volunteers took part in a three-day training course in County Clare in August to learn methods of preserving historic ruins. The program – the first of its kind – was hosted by the Irish branch of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Clare County Council, and the Killinaboy Heritage and History Group.

The main site of the project was Killinaboy’s An Cabhail Mhór (The Great Ruin), a ruined castle that was a homestead of the Blood family in the 1600s. Volunteers were taught, among other things, how to reinforce the structure’s walls using hot-lime mortar, and “soft” wall capping, which decreases water damage by applying a mixture of local clay and plants, and a hands-on lesson in medieval craft, including joinery (frame-building) and roof-thatching.

Architectural Conservation Officer and archaeologist Risteard UaCroinin, who helped orchestrate the program and gave a presentation on architectural history in the region, said “plans are already afoot to make this an annual event.” ♦

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