Monday 8 December 2014

Ireland's stone specialists win top architectural awards

Any way you look at it, this post is not about genealogy, but I just wanted to point the day-job spotlight on the island's natural stone industry, once a major source of skilled employment for our ancestors, which picked up two major architectural awards at a ceremony in London on Friday.

Waterford Medieval Museum in the oldest part of the city
The 'Natural Stone Award for New Build – Modern Style' went to Waterford Medieval Museum, a new landmark at the heart of the city's Viking Triangle.

It was designed, with a striking (and technically highly impressive) series of curved layers of Bath Stone limestone, by Robert Maddock, Waterford City Council's architects and the principal stone contractor was S McConnells & Sons of Kilkeel in County Down.
LondonDerry Guildhall – a feast of sandstone
The family-owned McConnells firm was also the principal stone contractor behind the second big award of the night: The 'Natural Stone Award for Repair and Restoration', which went to The Guildhall in LondonDerry.

This gloriously flamboyant sandstone building, which was constructed between 1887 and 1890, has hosted several exhibitions with a historical theme since it reopened in 2014 after a nearly four-year conservation project.

Just for good measure, McConnells appeared again in the credits for a third major award: The Natural Stone Award for New Build – Traditional Style Stonemasonry, which went to the Bomber Command Memorial in London's Green Park.

If you're interested to find out a bit more about the Waterford and LondonDerry awards, click on the relevant pictures to download a pdf,
courtesy of Natural Stone Specialist Magazine.