I want to tell you about a beautifully restored church I visited in Brosna, Co. Kerry. The visit was uplifting. The unusual thing was that all the materials were spot on!
In a country full of plastic windows and everything covered in concrete from head to toe, here natural materials were chosen that complimented the old. Thick solid wooden doors lead you inside. Terracotta tiles on the floor blend in with their natural patina warmed by underfloor heating. Touching the mortar on the walls, dusty particles remain on the finger tips proving that traditional lime mortar techniques were used, allowing the church walls to breath again.
Noel Lane, one of the participants in this major restoration project, showed a group of us around. This project was an example of repairing the damage that had been done to this building by previous modernisations. None of this was by coincidence. Clear, strong decisions had been made to make this space comfortable and joyful again. Great time and effort had obviously been given to selecting each and every material. However, the most revealing information of our tour was that the project was driven by the community. Well done for choosing quality which will hopefully last a long time and be enjoyed by many.
Photographs by Noel Lane