Project Description

Swords Castle, Co Dublin

Description of Works

Programme of Works 10 months
Client Fingal County Council
Architect Fingal County Council
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer IN2 Engineering Design Partnership ltd
Civil & Structural Engineer DKP Chartered Engineers
Conservation Consultant Fingal County Council
Quantity Surveyors Walsh Associates
Project Supervisor Design Process Fingal County Council

Project Summary

Kelbuild Ltd. had the great pleasure of joining Fingal County Council in working on a number of restoration & conservation works at Swords Castle, North County Dublin.

Swords Castle is a beautiful historical site in the centre of Swords Village, dating back to circa 500 – 600AD. Works included extensive restoration & conservation of the existing East Tower, which was deteriorating due to weathering, upgrading and installing a new galvanised walkway along the castle walls and repairs to the chapel area.

There was extensive works to the East Tower to stabilise the existing 3ft lean on the outer walls & to protect the remaining structure, as it was deteriorating rapidly due to weathering and to prevent any future erosion. In the execution of this project, there was due care taken on all aspects to try keep the integrity of the existing building while also ensuring this building was structurally sound. This project has combined modern methods and materials alongside traditional to save as much of the remaining masonry as possible. Kelbuild took a minimum intervention approach when it came to the unstable masonry works; any disturbed masonry was carefully recorded and placed back in its original position. The masonry structure was repaired with like-for-like materials by a specialist stone mason, using a lime mortar for repointing and a lime shelter coat to protect the vulnerable masonry.

To further stabilise the structure, a specialised, made to measure, concrete plate was inserted on the inside of the east tower to tie the remaining three walls together. This concrete plate is a modern twist, while also being modest & functional. Its simplistic design allows any water to fall away from the walls of the tower, thus reducing further erosion & weathering on the existing masonry. Kelbuild Ltd installed this plate on a pre-existing ledge; this was paramount to keep the integrity of the building and its originality.

The works to the wall walk utilises the existing masonry while providing a modern designed steel frame. Works involved the installation of a galvanised structure to replace the rotten timber formation there previously. A new robust & secure cantilever structure, using the existing wall walk top and the overburden of the parapet wall as anchorage was designed & installed. Kelbuild Ltd ensured a full conservation attempt was made throughout this as all the old corbels were carefully preserved in place as we worked around them. The use of the original stairs was also suspended during the works to preserve the archaeology of the grounds. This new walkway allows the public to explore and enjoy the unparalleled views of the site & the surrounding area.

The Swords Castle Church repairs consisted of the gable steps over the roof being lead-lined and re-poured & the capping stones were replaced with solid stone. The lead walkway was re-laid to allow water flow from the building, & the drains were extended with lead to draw water away. Gables were repointed using a lime mortar designed to replicate the original by a master stonemason. All these small interventions allowed the Chapel to become watertight & is drying out the protected original masonry without making any major changes. The building remained open and functional during works.

Kelbuild Ltd were extremely pleased to be Finalists in the prestigious Ice Awards with this project as it was seen that the clever design, ingenuity & impeccable communication with our Client allowed this project to come to fruition to such high standards.

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