Dromineer Castle, Co. Tipperary / Conservation


Dromineer Castle was constructed in the early 16th. Century by the O'Kennedy Family. Although now a ruin, the castle is of considerable historic and archaeological significance. The castle is constructed on a site of historic and strategic importance-there was an earlier Viking fort close to the site ; the castle itself was seized by Cromwellian forces in 1650 ; Dromineer was one of the principal stations of the Irish Navigation Company on the Shannon Waterway during the nineteenth century. Dromineer Castle is of architectural significance and archaeological significance as a good example of a tower house from the early sixteenth century. Michael O'Boyle was commissioned by Tipperary County Council to prepare a Conservation Report on this ruined townhouse(a national monument), which occupies a prominent site on the shores of Lough Derg. The report built on previous studies carried out in the 1980's and 1990's, tracking the deterioration in the ruin and the factors contributing to its vulnerability over the past three decades. Additional inputs were obtained by specialists in the fields of archaeology, stone traditions and conservation, ecology, conservation engineering and high-level repairs (steeplejack).A clear and concise set of recommendations for priority repair were produced together with costings, which formed the basis of a successful grant application for LEADER funding. We were subsequently commissioned the LEADER-funded first phase of work at the site comprising the removal of vegetation and a multi-disciplinary inspection of the tower with the assistance of a steeplejack. A co-ordinated site inspection took place in December 2013, with each consultant (conservation architect, archaeologist/stone and mortar specialist, structural engineer, conservation contractor and QS) taking turns to inspect at close range from a suspended basket. This led to the development of a prioritised schedule for repairs to facilitate the phased consolidation and repair of the ruin.