St Mary’s is currently undergoing much necessary renovation with the provision of special facilities for our parishioners, the good people of the Diocese, for pilgrims and visitors. The mission is to reconnect The Cathedral to the Diocese and the City of Kilkenny and to ensure the Cathedral, as a sacred space, remains a place of prayer and worship for generations to come.
Part of the redevelopment was completed in September 2012. This phase saw the Chapter House, which includes the main sacristy, located adjacent to the Cathedral restored and developed. We now have facilities which include the Cathedral cafe, a gift shop and a beautiful conference room.
The former coal store and area in the basement of the Cathedral Sanctuary has been transformed into a beautiful adoration chapel that allows exposition of the Blessed Sacrament daily. Access to the Cathedral campus and related areas has also been greatly enhanced.
The restoration work carried out on the Sanctuary area of the Cathedral was completed in time for the first ordination to priesthood for the diocese in fourteen years, celebrated on the last Sunday of June 2015. The work undertaken included works to the roof, ceiling, stained glass windows, wall mosaics and furniture.
A specialist team of restoration painters carried out the work over a period of many months and ranged through plaster repair, paint matching, gold leaf work, and paint stenciling. Painted features adorning the window surrounds and supporting columns were also revealed and reinstated with particular attention paid to investigating and recording the underlying history as evidenced throughout the works.
Beneath the ceiling the hand-cut mosaics which decorate all the sanctuary walls were in need of repair and clean. This was undertaken through the application of non-abrasive pumice to the entire area and removal after drying which lifted the build-up of carbonation, dirt and smoke as gathered over the decades without damage to the mosaics themselves. In tandem, the magnificent and original stained glass windows running to over 5m tall were fully removed, repaired, re-leaded, and replaced by a local stained glass expert, securing their integrity for future generations.
At floor level a number of statues were cleaned and reinstated to their positions, bespoke furniture was designed and installed within the alcoves, the altar was repaired, and the floor mosaics cleaned. Modern lighting systems were added in concealed locations to highlight the complete works and the dramatic impact of the restoration works are now evident for the citizens of Kilkenny, the faithful of the 42 parishes and the many visitors to view, be uplifted and appreciate its beauty and craftsmanship
To date, much work has been done and there is much more to do. This important work is possible only because of the generosity of so many people locally and internationally. To complete the project we continue to rely on the financial support of all of you who value the treasure that is St Mary’s Cathedral. If you would like to make a donation and contribute to this great project please use the Donate button to make your contribution. All support is gratefully received and will be acknowledged. Thank You for your generosity.
Please click here to view St Mary’s Cathedral Brochure