Traditional skills on show this weekend

An exhibition of traditional building and conservation skills in action will be on show in Kilkenny Castle this Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

An exhibition of traditional building and conservation skills in action will be on show in Kilkenny Castle this Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

Presented by the Irish Georgian Society and Kilkenny County and City Councils in association with the Office of Public Works, the exhibition and series of talks are aimed at owners of period buildings and at people interested in architectural conservation and traditional building skills.

On show at the free event will be thatching, stone carving, brick pointing, restoration of timber sash windows, traditional ironwork restoration, traditional slate dressing, decorative plasterwork conservation, use of lime-based mortars and renders, building of traditional stone walls, historic paint effects and gilding, pole lath turning, furniture restoration, stained glass and fanlight conservation, hemp and lime floor construction, and many other traditional building skills.

This is a family-friendly event with free face painting from 11am to 4pm each day.

Brian Hayes, minister of state with responsibility for the OPW, will formally launch the exhibition at 11am on Saturday.


Free talks will be held throughout the weekend in the castle’s Parade Tower.


11am: “A Little Goes a long way: Looking After your Protected Structure” by Evelyn Graham, conservation officer with Kilkenny County Council

noon: “The Continued Use and Re-Use of Old Buildings” by Michael O’Boyle of Bluett and O’Donoghue, Grade I RIAI Conservation Architects

1pm “Traditional Slate Dressing: A practical demonstration” by Jim O’Donoughue of Blue Bangor Company

2pm: “Stone Walls and Other Masonry Structures: Their care and conservation” by Pat McAfee, stonemason and author of ‘Irish Stone Walls,’ ‘Stone Buildings’ and the Building Limes Forum Ireland’s ‘Lime Works’

3pm: “Sustainability and Heritage in Urban Historic Centres: Kilkenny City, a case study” by Denis Malone, senior planner with Kilkenny County Council and Cllr Malcolm Noonan, Green Party spokesperson on the environment

4pm: “Traditional Farm Buildings and Conservation Skills” by Anna Meenan, project manager with REPS 4 Traditional Farm Buildings Grants Scheme, and Colm Murray, architecture officer with The Heritage Council


11am: “The Do’s and Don’ts of Plasterwork Conservation” by Andrew Smith, historic plasterwork conservation consultant

noon: “Keeping Your Old Building Warm: Energy efficiency in traditional buildings” by Jacqui Donnelly, architect with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

1pm: “Hemp and Lime: A Practical Demonstration” by Henry Thompson of the Old Builders Company

2pm: “The Importance and Care of Thatched Roofs in Kilkenny and the Surrounding Counties” by Dr Fidelma Mullan, vernacular architecture specialists and council member of The Heritage Council

3pm: “Peeling Back the Years: A Look at Historic House Wallpapers” by David Skinner, historic wallpaper consultant

4pm: “The Why, When and What of the Kilkenny and the surrounding Counties’ Traditional Buildings Materials” by

Edward Byrne of the The Traditional Lime Company