Stunning photo of historic Portlaoise church tower as work begins to save it

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Stunning photo of historic Portlaoise church tower as work begins to save it

St Peter's tower in Portlaoise, photo from Laois Heritage Society

Possibly the oldest building in the heart of Portlaoise is getting a makeover to save it from falling down.

St Peter's tower is the last remaining structure of a 500 year old church in an atmospheric walled graveyard on Church Street.

Laois Heritage Society shared this beautiful shot for their Instagram showing scaffolding around the tower as work gets underway. 

Already the site has benefited from a stunning mural showing Laois history painted in 2019, and the restoration of its wrought iron gates.  The graveyard is set to become a quiet retreat filled with nature for locals and visitors to enjoy. 

Laois Heritage Officer Catherine Casey told the Leinster Express about the work.

"Laois County Council has started a programme of conservation works at Old St Peter’s Graveyard - work is starting on the conservation of the 16th century bell tower, with the help of Urban Regeneration and Development Fund funding. We will also be conserving some of the grave stones and the cast and wrought iron railings, making repairs to the wall and installing bat boxes.

"We hope that the graveyard will be opened as a park at the end of the work, so it’s the culmination of several years work in partnership with Portlaoise Tidy Towns, all instigated by the late Cllr Jerry Lodge, with the help of Heritage Council funding.

"Once finished, we hope the graveyard will serve as a place of quiet reflection within the busy town centre, a place to reconnect with nature and with the history of the town.

"We’d also like to thank the neighbouring property owners who have been very accommodating regarding access, scaffolding and especially the Dunamaise Arts Centre who have assisted with the works in providing water and power, as well as allowing installation of bat boxes and swift nest boxes," Ms Casey said.

The stonemason is Jethro Sheen, the Conservation Team included David Kelly Partnership consulting engineers, Margaret Quinlan Conservation Architect and Colm Flynn Archaeologist. The project team for Laois County Council is led by Paul McLoughlin Senior Executive Engineer.

Laois Heritage Society praised the works.

"Great to see the next stage of conservation works underway at The Old St. Peter's church in the heart of Portlaoise.
#laoisheritagesociety #laoisheritage #laois #conservation #architecture #builtheritage #church #medieval"