Fine Gael Deputy Michael Ring, Roscommon Councillor Anthony Waldron and castle owner Pyers O’Conor Nash were at Ballintubber Castle last week to formally launch the castle conservation project and traditional skills programme funded by Roscommon County Council, The Heritage Council and the National Monuments Service.
Over 75 people attended the launch of the project and heard from historians, archaeologists, conservation experts and heritage consultants involved in the conservation programme about how it will benefit and restore parts of Ballintubber Castle.
Cllr. Waldron led the extensive efforts made by the Ballintubber Heritage Group to secure funding for the restoration of Ballintubber Castle and was delighted with the success of the launch.
He said: “It has been years in the making and we are very happy for Ballintubber, for Roscommon and indeed the country. It is in the national interest that we protect such a wonderful castle and make it accessible once again for the public to enjoy”.
In the afternoon, discussions focused on the restoration work already carried out by specialists Cunningham & Marine of Westport on the south-west tower. Details and methodology of removing invasive ivy and repointing walls with traditional lime mortar were shared with the participants, as well as potential future works required to make safe and maintain the 14th century Castle walls.
As part of the launch event, the Heritage Council sponsored a Traditional Skills Course at the Castle and over 45 participants learned techniques used by medieval craftsman to build the stone wall structures.
Lime pointing and ancient masonry tools were ably demonstrated by Master Plasterer and Heritage Mason Damien Condon from Calx Restorations and Edward Byrne from the Traditional Lime Company discussed the merits of using lime for mortar and how the ancient lime kilns were once operated.
After a full day of expert talks and demonstrations of traditional building methods and conservation techniques for protecting medieval structures like Ballintubber Castle, the Traditional Skills course participants were presented with a certificate of attendance by Cllr. Waldron and organizer Chris Southgate of conservation specialists Southgate & Associates.