Department for Communities Historic Environment Division.
The £1 million project to replace the roof of the Great Tower, which has been in place for over 80 years, is more than halfway through. With a completion date expected in October 2019, we are fast moving towards the final stages of construction.
The first phases of work have involved the waterproofing of the third floor of the Great Tower and the removal of the previous roof. This has given us the opportunity to discover and record archaeological features that have been hidden for almost a century and that greatly enhance our understanding of the life of the building.
Carpenter Oak, who manufactured the structural oak in their workshop in Devon, have been on site to assemble the oak frames of the roof. The ring beam, rafters and ventilation turrets have been carefully craned in, pegged together and put into place. The following phases involve the installation of oak sarking boards to cover the trusses and then the lead work gutter for the water drainage. The roof is to be finished in Cumbrian stone slates.
The roof, built according to medieval construction techniques, should last for generations to come and allow the full use of the Great Hall for displays and functions. Two years after having been blown down by Storm Ophelia (October 2017), the oak timbers from County Wicklow have found a new home in Carrickfergus, on the top of the Great Tower of one of the most iconic castles of Northern Ireland.