Work Progresses on St Macartan’s Cathedral Restoration as Phase 2 nears completion.

Work on the restoration of the stonework and fabric of St Macartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan is progressing to a point where Phase 2 is nearing completion. This Phase involves the main tower, steeple and Rose Window on the southern side of the building, including the restoration of a series of statues in niches of the tower. 

On Friday 10 May, the Minister for Social Protection and for Rural and Community Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, paid a visit to the Cathedral to see for herself the ongoing work of restoration, part of which has been funded by her present and former Departments and by Monaghan County Council under the Irish Heritage Council and the Historic Structures Fund. The Minister was warmly welcomed by the Cathedral Administrator, Canon Paddy McGinn. Canon McGinn is leading this major project for Monaghan & Rackwallace parish and the Diocese of Clogher. On her visit, the Minister was given a tour of the works by Padraig McGuigan of McGuigan Builders, Clontibret – the main contractors for the work. This included a flight to the very top of the spire where, from the newly restored weathervane, she had a bird’s eye view of Monaghan town and the surrounding countryside. 

Work on restoring the fabric of St Macartan’s Cathedral began initially in 2019 resumed in 2022. The restoration work involves vital repairs to parts of the roof and on the parts of the building most in need of critical attention. These include the urgent repair work to the stonework fabric of the entire building, especially the tower, spire, pinnacles and rose windows. The present phase (phase 2), costing over €3m, is nearing completion and it is planned that a further phase of restoration work on the front of the building will be undertaken. To date, €460,000 in grant aid from public bodies within the Minister’s remit have been awarded. This is in addition to other grants via various charitable foundations.

Further phases will be dependent on availability of funds. This will be a major challenge for the Diocese of Clogher and for its 37 parishes as well as the local community of Monaghan. 

The Cathedral, which holds the Seat of the Catholic Bishop of Clogher, was built between 1861 and 1892 to the design of the famous 19th-century Gothic architect J J McCarthy, while the grounds and entrance were completed in the 1940s. It is a listed Protected Structure of regional significance. However, the effects of rainfall, carbon damage and climate change have taken their toll on this precious jewel.

Minister Heather Humphreys TD with Canon Paddy McGinn and Aisling Lynch, Parish Secretary,
when she visited St Macartan’s Cathedral to see the ongoing conservation work that has been carried out at the cathedral over the past year. Photo Rory Geary
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