More repairs to historic steeple

The builders have been brought back again to the St Peter’s in Portlaoise following further water leaks.

The builders have been brought back again to the St Peter’s in Portlaoise following further water leaks.

A year of extensive restoration work was completed on the 200-year old listed building in 2009 by Stone Development. They repaired damage to the steeple, roof and lightning conductor, caused by weathering over two centuries. The bill for original repairs came to E160,000, and was partly met with a government grant, with the remainder fundraised through the Church of Ireland congregation and the local community.

Recently water was noticed dripping down into the porch of the church, caused by rain leaking through stone at the base of the belfry. The builders have now returned to do remedial works, which involve covering the stone at the top and bottom of the spire with leading and water repellant. They will carry out some other repairs too, which are estimated to cost E40,000.

The new works won’t be disrupting services, says newly installed Rev Stanley Monkhouse, who joined the Portlaoise congregation three weeks ago.

“There was a residual problem with the roof, it wasn’t expected, but everything is continuing as normal, there is no disturbance to our activities,” said Rev Monkhouse.

The latest work is expected to be complete by the end of October.

The church was the first building to be erected in Market Sq, when completed in 1803. It’s spire and facade were designed by reknowned architect James Gandon, designer of Emo Court. It was a replacement for the old Church of Ireland church in Tower Hill which had been built in 1560. It features stained glass windows by Harry Clarke.