A new phase of works at St. Mel’s Cathedral began this week. This phase involves trial cleaning, tests for geo thermal heating, steel support to the columns, replacement of one column, ground investigation etc.
Bishop Colm O’Reilly was on site last Monday to oversee the start of the latest phase in the restoration of the Cathedral.
Speaking on the day, Bishop O’Reilly said: “Work has been in progress here for eighteen months. The wall structure of the Cathedral has been secured and the planning of the interior is nearing completion. Today begins a new phase of the work, the difficult task of investigating the condition of its limestone columns and other parts of the cathedral damaged by the fire of 2009. There will soon also begin important work on the exterior of the Cathedral, supported by the Heritage Council.”
Bishop O’Reilly went on to say: “Today we reach a new milestone on the journey towards total restoration of the cathedral. It is day of hope when we can look forward to the joy of the day when St Mel’s Cathedral will once again open its doors to the people of Longford and the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.”
An Open Day will be held in a few weeks time when the public will be invited to visit the Cathedral to view the fire damage and the work undertaken so far. It is also hoped to have on display the future plans as developed through discussions with diocesan committees and architects. Also in the coming week it is anticipated that repairs to the lintel over the front door and to the stautes high up on the front facade will take place.