LOCALS in Carnew are celebrating the conclusion of restoration work on the wall at Carnew Castle after a section collapsed onto the footpath on Main Street three years ago.
'We're very pleased,' said Dermot Kenny, Manager of Carnew Training and Development Centre. 'It was rebuilt using original techniques and materials. Most of the stone was reused.'
He said the meticulous work was carried out by Anthony Ryan, stonemason, and contractor Paul Corbett, in very challenging conditions. 'In the cold weather, you can't work with lime mortar,' explained Dermot. 'It won't bond in conditions under 6 degrees Celsius. They had to cover the scaffolding in to prevent the frost getting in.'
He said the upper section of the 4.5 metre high wall collapsed, and the lower section was in danger of collapse. 'The wall is now sound and solid and the work should stand it in good stead,' he said.
Among those who gathered to celebrate the end of the work last week were Ian Doyle, a representative of the Heritage Council; Deirdre Burns, Heritage Officer with Wicklow County Council; local Councillor Pat Doran, as well as Dermot, Paul and Anthony.
'A portion of the wall fell over three years ago during a very wet, windy, and stormy November and lay on the path until recently,' recalled Dermot. 'Over the years, another part of the wall began leaning precariously. This part was in imminent danger of collapse also and it was agreed to tackle both problems simultaneously.'
'It is worth remembering that the wall is approximately 200 years old and was built in the horse and cart era,' he added. 'It has stood up well to the changing environment and will now, hopefully, stand for many more years. It remains one of the finest examples of its type in the country.
He said that the Dabczewski family, who live in the Castle and funded a portion of the work, wished to thank the following for their goodwill and efforts to help them: Carnew Training and Development Centre which pursued the problem relentlessly until the money to fix it was in place; The Heritage Council and Wicklow County Council for grants of €7,000 each; and to Paul Corbett and Anthony Ryan for their patience, professionalism, and diligence, during the worst of the winter weather.