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St. Catherine's Parish

Meath St., Dublin 8 IRELAND

Telephone: 01-4543356

Fax: 01-4738303


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Fire Update

JUNE 2013


Some amazing work has been carried out by varies tradesmen
and craft men to get the Church back to it’s former glory.

To see photos of the work in progress on St. Catherine’s. >>>>>> CLICK HERE


Letter sent to all Parishioners 12th September 2012

 Dear Parishioner,

The last time we wrote to you, it was to inform you
of the damage caused by the fire in our church in Meath Street
on 2nd January of this year.
At that time there was a degree of uncertainty regarding
the feasibility of the church being re-opened ...................... READ MORE


Picture 25
Extensive work has been going on behind
"closed doors" since the fire in January.

For Archiect's Report to date and
to see some pictures of
the work in progress >>>>>>>>> CLICK HERE


Pictures of interior of the
Church after the fire on
2nd January 2012.     >>>> click here to view FIRE PHOTS Part 1


You’d be forgiven for wondering is anything happening in the church at all and will work ever start. I am going to try as best I can to explain what has been happening and at what stage we are at.
Meath Street church was still being completed right up to the 1950’s. We have seen some pictures of the church in 1900 for example that has no sculptures on the pillars where it is reputed the head of Kevin Barry is among some saints on the arches. These were all additions. The window behind the organ was also an addition to the original church. The spire, which was to be magnificent, was never completed and a smaller construction was put in place again in the late 50’s. Up to that point the bell that fell silent on 2nd January this year was exposed to the elements. In the 1970’s with the Vatican Council more renovations were done to the sanctuary area.
The beautiful pulpit was removed (God only knows where to) and the magnificent frames around the Stations of the Cross were removed. All this means that when the church opened for worship it was not complete and it would be many many years before it would be finished.
Now you can imagine what a fire does. Because additions and renovations have been made over the years it is difficult to know what damage was done to what, what period a particular piece of art belongs to, who were the original companies that did the work and how now do we restore this beautiful work of art. Our Architect and his colleagues have worked tirelessly to find out the extent of the damage to every inch of the church. Had they not done this we would have no idea who would be capable of renovating the building - who are the best people to clean the stonework in the building, who are and what is the best method of restoring the many wooden structures that have in some cases been very badly damaged, how best can the marble be restored, can the beautiful east window (above the high altar) be repaired and what method is to be used? These are only a very small sample of the questions facing the Architect, which thankfully he completed with the aid of many experts at the end of June. This investigation has resulted in one very positive outcome – the organ, which we thought was completely destroyed, has now been salvaged up to 75% which is great news for all.
At this stage the tendering process goes into full swing. Companies will be asked to set down estimates for what they think the cost of their particular brief will be. The Architect along with the Loss Adjustor (He works on behalf of the Insurance Company) will work out the best value for money from these tenders and decide the people and companies who will finally do the work. This process should be finished by the end of August and hopefully work will commence.
At all times there has been activity in the church even if from the outside it seems nothing is being done. Every week there are people inside the building looking at various aspects of it and advising on the best methods for securing the best results for repairing the building.
The fire was devastating. If you wish to see more pictures of the before and after and to see the mammoth task the Architect and various experts have had to deal with go to the Picture Gallery on the web site, where you will see the destruction.


It is just five months today since the unfortunate fire in Saint Catherine’s. Since then the church has been closed and has been inaccessible to everyone, so naturally people are asking what is happening what progress is being made.

To date the big window over the main altar has been removed and shipped to Germany for examination and “repair”.

The organ, which suffered extensive damage, has also been removed.

The Stations of the Cross will be removed for restoration next week.

Extensive clean –up has been undertaken.

All furnishings etc. will be removed for storage and restoration during the summer period.

Various preliminary examinations have been undertaken to determine the extent of damage to different aspects of the church and these have now all been completed. At present the architect James Howley is preparing specifications and this month will be inviting tenders for the various aspects of the work. Once the various tenders have been received and the job awarded to the respective contractors, it is hoped that work will begin in end of August/ start of September.

Some of the cleaning work is very specialist work, and due to health and safety concerns regarding the amount of lead in the paint no other work can take place while this cleaning work is being done. So it is estimated that this specialist cleaning will take nine weeks. Only when that had finished can the real work of restoration begin. It is now estimated that this whole work of restoration will take about a year to complete.

So what is involved?

The ceiling boards and insulation above the ceiling boards must be removed and replaced. The slates on the roof must be replaced. All stonework in the church (not the walls) will be stripped back to the original stone. The windows will be repaired. The organ will be restored. The wall and ceilings will be   cleaned and repainted. All the electrical works must be replaced, and a complete new lighting system installed. All of the floor tiles (though not the timber flooring) must be removed and replaced. The radiators must be replaced by more heat efficient models. The altar, and all the marble stonework must be cleaned and polished.

The Cost?

In all such undertakings it is difficult at this stage to give a definite figure for the work involved. However, including the restoration of the stained glass, and the restoration of the organ we expect that the final figure will amount to about € 4.5 million.

January 2012

On 2nd January 2012, at approx 4 p.m. we were alerted to the fact that a fire had started in the crib area of the church. Within minutes the fire had caught hold of the building and there was no way of stopping what is now extensive damage to the interior.


The Gardai and Fire Brigade responded immediately to the 999 calls and worked tirelessly to limit the damage and make sure everyone was safe. We owe them a debt of gratitude for all they did.


It is great consolation to everyone that nobody was injured or killed.


The church is badly damaged. The stained glass window over the high altar is shattered and the organ at the other end of the church has been incinerated. Most of the damage is in the upper regions of the church, in the ceilings, with smoke damage effecting everywhere else.


At this moment in time we have no idea how long the church will be closed for, but it will be months if not years.