An occasion of more than usual significance took place at Ardfert Cathedral, Co Kerry on 7th July 1994. The restored Transept was opened to the public. Conservation and restoration had involved an intensive archaeological investigation and since the Cathedral dates back to the twelfth century, many interesting relics have been recovered.
However, restoration work is proceeding in phases and the south transept was the first completed work at the Cathedral. It was officially declared open by Mr Dick Spring, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Historical correctness had to be maintained in the re-roofing of the Transept and this created much consideration and thought as complete roofs of centuries old structures are few.
Expert opinion directed architects and officials of the. Office of Public Works to Holy Trinity Church in Waringstown; Co Down. Holy Trinity was consecrated in 1681 and its existing roof, constructed of oak beams grown locally is as originally made. Here was the selected prototype for the roof of the Transept at Clonfert.
The Consultant Architects, Paddy and Maura Sheffrey, representatives of the main Contractors, N O'Shea & Sons, and other experts visited Holy Trinity Church in Waringstown. Sketches of the roof trusses were made and photographs taken.
To-day the completed roof of the Transept at Clonfert Cathedral is magnificent proof of the skill and efforts displayed by Architects, the Contractors and the staff of workers.
Two members of the Craigavon Historical Society, Wilfrid Cooper and Albert Kirk, with a friend Norman Quinn, were present at the official opening. Afterwards they met Mr Spring, Mr John Mahony, Chairman of the Office of Public Works,
Mr Brendan Scully, a Commissioner of O.P.W., Mr Grellan Rourke, Architect of the O.P.W., the Consultant Architects - Paddy and Maura Sheffrey and other officials.
A very enjoyable time was had and a few trips in pleasant scenery were made before returning to Waringstown:
NOTE: The Editor thanks the Office of Public Works for the photographs of the Cathedral provided and the Consultant Architects for their assistance.