St. Mel’s Cathedral
Restoration of this 1856 Cathedral, which was severely damaged in a fire on Christmas Day, 2009. The Contract was carried out in a Joint Venture with Gem Construction Ltd. It involved the complete restoration of the building, including removal of the existing temporary protective roof structure and replacement with new structure and roof finishes to replicate the original, removal and replacement of stone columns, pillasters and copings, defrassing of stone walls and replacement of lime plaster and decorative plasterwork internally.
The original contract works were then supplemented by the award of the contract for the next phase, which included restoration works to the Campanile and the replacement of the bell support structure, new stained glass windows, internal plastering, floors, stairs and full M&E installation.
A 3rd phase contract was awarded to us towards the end of the project duration, for all the external siteworks and landscaping.
The images of the Cathedral in its original undamaged condition along with those illustrating the utter devastation of the fire and those of the restored building, chart the destruction and recovery of this beautiful building.
On Friday 19th Dec 2014, Gem Purcell successfully and proudly handed over the restored St. Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, in time for a series of ceremonies, ahead of Christmas Eve Mass 2014.
Representatives of Gem Purcell presented Bishop Francis Duffy, Bishop of Ardagh & Clonmacnois with a commemorative chalice in memory of the works that took place and all that were involved in the painstaking and cherished restoration.
Fr Tom Healy, Administrator of St Mel’s Cathedral con-celebrated the first Mass since the fire, along with Bishop Francis Duffy, Bishop Emeritus Colm O’Reilly and other members of the Clergy.
The story of this project was beautifully told in a special RTE documentary, ‘The Longford Phoenix’.
2015 RIAI Best Conservation/Restoration: Winner
2015 RIAI Public Choice Award: Winner