The Castle consisted of the former McCann’s Bakery (mid 1800’s) attached to the old castle building. Over the years the castle had been altered and adapted to suit industrial usage. Being a Scheduled Monument the removal of all redundant elements was undertaken in conjunction with on-going investigations by the archaeologist.
Many of the new components and materials were of a specialised nature e.g. Oak, Natural Stone, Hydraulic Lime and Bronze. All of the oak boarding and beams had to be seasoned to suit the ambient temperature of the finished building. The stonework to the window surrounds (Wattscliffe Lilac Gritstone) had to match the original window openings. The bronze window surrounds were hand made by a company specialising in historical buildings, based in Dublin.
The Hydraulic Lime was obtained from The Traditional Lime Company (Carlow) and had to be applied using traditional techniques. A toughened glass floor was installed over the former basement as a viewing feature. The roof timbers were rot infested and had to be replaced and covered with new Bangor blue slates. The existing truss ends were perished in a number of instances which were treated for rot infestation. New truss ends were formed and spliced with metal shoes. The brickwork to external walls was perished in many places and window openings had to all be rebuilt complete with new lintels and cills.
A considerable amount of time was also spent, restoring the original features in the Castle e.g. fireplaces, former door openings, window openings and gun loops. Prior to commencing, an archaeological record was made of each feature and a schedule of repairs drawn up together with a detailed sketch of the work to be carried out.
The fit-out stage incorporated extensive mechanical and electrical services, as well as catering equipment. Due to the extent of exposed timber throughout the building a considerable amount of fire protection was incorporated as part of the specification.
The project was completed within programme and budget to the satisfaction of the Client, Newry and Mourne District Council, and Design Team (Consarc Conservation were the Lead Consultant). The quality of the completed project was acknowledged by an award from the Royal Society of Ulster Architects.