Restoring Stained Glass in one of Ireland's Oldest Cathedrals

Published: Monday, March 21, 2016


Glassmarque Design, one of the National Churches Trust's most recently joined Professional Trades Directory members, have restored the stunning stained glass in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armargh.

A special place for Irish Christians

St Patrick's Cathedral holds a special place in the minds of Irish Christians. It has been, and still is, the centre of the Church of Ireland, and can trace its history back to the time of St Patrick himself.

One of our newest Professional Trades Directory members, Glassmarque Design, were commissioned in 2013 to fully restore several of the stunning stained glass windows in St Patrick's, all of which date to the 19th century. 

St Patrick's stands on one of the oldest Christian sites in Britain, a church having stood here in Armagh for more than 1500 years.

Tradition has it that the first stone church was built here by St Patrick in 445AD, around which a monastic community developed. The current building was first consecrated in 1268, and has since undergone various repairs and restorations. Much of the original medieval building can still be seen, particularly in the crypt. Over time, restorations have tried to preserve as much of the Cathedral’s original appearance as possible.

Restoring the windows

Restoring the stained glass was a painstaking and difficult process. The windows and their frames were removed and brought to the Glassmarque studio, where the company's artists took rubbings of the windows, and then carefully dismantled the glass from the old lead. Each piece of glass was individually cleaned, damaged pieces repaired, and the glass releaded, before the fully restored windows were refitted into their original positions.

Future protection

Following the restoration, Glassmarque Design installed their own Protection System, designed to protect the restored glass, without detracting from the beauty of the building or windows. Importantly, the Glassmarque Protection System has a full perimeter ventilated frame, which prevents the build up of heat against the glass, which can cause damage. This ensures that the windows will remain protected long into the future, so they can continue being enjoyed by future generations.

Glassmarque’s painstaking work on this project has safeguarded a much loved feature of one of Ireland’s most famous church buildings. Their commitment to faithful restoration has meant that the Cathedral has retained its original essence.

Glassmarque Design are members of the National Churches Trust’s Professional Trades Directory, which is a fully searchable Directory of conservators and contractors whose work includes the restoration and maintenance of historic church buildings in the UK. Click here to find out more about Glassmarque Design.

We are currently welcoming new members to our Professional Trades Directory. If you would like to learn more, or sign up, please visit our Professional Trades Directory