£1m work on Carrick Castle roof starts to take shape

Tracy Meharg, Permanent Secretary, Department for Communities and Principal Inspector of Historic Monuments Dr. John O'Keefe, department for Communities on the roof of Carrick Castle. Pics by Simon Graham Photography.
Tracy Meharg, Permanent Secretary, Department for Communities and Principal Inspector of Historic Monuments Dr. John O'Keefe, department for Communities on the roof of Carrick Castle. Pics by Simon Graham Photography.
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Work to replace the roof of the Great Tower at Carrickfergus Castle as part of a £1m renovation has entered a new phase.

Oak timbers will be used to form the main structure of the new roof, which will be built using medieval woodworking and construction techniques.

Work in progress on the new castle roof.

Work in progress on the new castle roof.

The Irish Oak timbers were felled during Storm Ophelia in 2017 in Co. Wicklow, and for the past four months, they have been shaped and prepared in Devon.

They will be used to form the principal trusses of the roof, the main frame on which the rest of the roof will be fixed. These will then be “oak-pegged” without the use of nails or metal fixings to hold them together.

During the first two weeks of July, the “skeleton” of the new roof will start to take shape once these trusses have been lowered into place.

Once this piece of work has been completed, the rest of the roof will be constructed as a series of open trusses and rafters carrying oak boards. Externally, the roof will be finished in Cumbrian stone slates and lead.

Work in progress on the castle roof.

Work in progress on the castle roof.

Iain Greenway, director of the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division, said: “The new roof at Carrickfergus Castle is really starting to take shape. This is one of our best-known and most-visited historic monuments.

“The project to construct the roof has already led to new discoveries about the history of the castle. Works are progressing according to programme and budget, with officials and contractors working closely together to move the project forward.

“The external appearance of the castle will not look significantly different from ground level as the roof will be behind the battlements.

“However, internally, the Great Hall at the top of the tower will be transformed into a higher, brighter and more historically resonant space.

Progress has been make on the new castle roof.

Progress has been make on the new castle roof.

“The keep will also be warmer and drier allowing the full use of the space for historic artefacts, displays and functions.”