During the storm of January 2007,
in which nine people were killed in the UK, thousands of buildings
were also damaged. One
such building was a church in Belfast.
Gusts of up to 80mph shook the tower of the church and
resulted in part of the spire collapsing.
The church and grounds had to be closed.
What was needed was a company with generations of experience
in stone masonry to put the damage right.
Rooney Stone was given the task of making the top of the
It was a time consuming task
which required diligence and attention to detail.
During removal of the four large spires Rooney Stone had to
number each stone block individually to enable the spire to be
reassembled correctly at a later stage.
It was during this work that the team noticed some of the
blocks had large cracks running through them, which indicated that
the spire had been hit by lightning at some point.
Some of the large
stones weighed almost a tonne and this necessitated the use of a
crane for a lot of the removal work.
Once all four spires were removed it could be seen that the
top portion of the tower walls and coping were badly decayed.
The team advised the owners of the church and the decision
was made to remove the coping and walls as well for restoration.
Just as before, Rooney Stone
made plans of each side of the tower and numbered the coping and
wall blocks before removal. By removing these stones it could be
seen that the roof of the tower was in serious
Again the team advised the owners of the church and the
decision was made to completely remove the roof and
whole top of tower was now relocated to ground
It was essential that the roof be restored as quickly as
possible. However, before any building work could be done the stone
had to be cleaned. When
rebuilding began, the first stage involved building the spires, then
the walls, followed by the coping and finally the top spires were
completed. The team
then pointed everything and put new lead on.
The most important and final part of the task was the sealing
of all stonework on the tower
to ensure the tower
would be present for future generations and to withstand any future
Click on the image above to view a
detailed pictorial account of the restoration process.