Facelift for County Limerick’s tallest church spire

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

A PECULIAR sight in the skies above Kilmallock has had the locals craning their necks and squinting their eyes of late.

A PECULIAR sight in the skies above Kilmallock has had the locals craning their necks and squinting their eyes of late.

High above the ground a team of steeplejacks are busy working on County Limerick’s tallest church spire.

The steeple of St Peter and Paul’s church is currently undergoing a €55,000 facelift to repair damage caused by the elements over the years and to safeguard it against future deterioration.

And already in the region of 25 bags of debris have been brought to ground.

Making up much of the contents are twigs - the remnants of the high rise apartments built by feathered friends over the years.

“There are a lot of openings there. There is a lot of debris so they are bringing that down and cleaning it up basically and making it safe. Structurally, it is sound out - there are no problems with regard to that,” explained Canon Willie Fitzmaurice, parish priest of Kilmallock.

The steeplejacks, who work for Dublin-based church restorers Rainey and Company, can be spotted at breath-taking heights abseiling down the towering spire in their high-viz jackets while they wash down the spire, apply anti-moss and anti-fungal treatments, carry out repointing and improvement works on the stone, and examine the lightening conductor.

“They made sure that was in order,” explained Canon Fitzmaurice.

Lightning conductors carry the electrical current away from the building and safely to the ground.

Kilmallock church is dedicated to St Peter and Paul. Building was commenced in 1879 when the Bishop of Limerick, Dr George Butler laid the foundation stone on July 6. However, it was not opened to the public until 1889.

The church has the tallest spire in County Limerick.

“St John’s Cathedral in Limerick city has the tallest church spire in Ireland - that is about 300 feet – the Kilmallock spire is about 175 feet,” Canon Fitzmaurice explained.

The weekly offerings of parishioners will go towards the cost of the restoration and improvement works.