Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop has met with Ireland’s Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief Kevin Moran in Dublin to announce a joint Scottish and Irish collaboration on conservation works to the Four Courts building.
In March 2017, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and the OPW Heritage Service to provide a basis for sharing experiences, expertise and knowledge between the two organisations. The agreement focuses particularly on conservation-related activities. The partners now propose to work together on the first piece of work to emerge from the relationship.
The OPW has been engaged over the last two years in detailed investigation works on a 1920s era concrete dome and stone drum of the Four Courts, Ireland’s main courts building. 24 carved Corinthian capitals support the main dome and a number of these have become significantly eroded and degraded over time, requiring repair or replacement with new carved capitals.
Under the Memorandum, stonemasons from HES and OPW will collaborate to carve one of the replacement capitals at the Engine Shed in Stirling, Scotland’s new national building conservation centre which is dedicated to supporting traditional crafts and educating people about the value of heritage. Visitors to the Engine Shed will be invited to watch the new Four Courts capital being carved so they can see this highly specialist work in progress. The completed carved capital will then be transported to Dublin and installed in the Four Courts this autumn.
Speaking at the Four Courts, Fiona Hyslop said: “Historic Environment Scotland and The Office of Public Works have a great deal in common and this partnership is based on sharing experiences, expertise and knowledge.
"The strong historic, cultural and economic ties between the two countries underpin the relationship and the Four Courts project is a great way of strengthening those ties.”
OPW Minister Kevin Moran said: “The project will see a new large capital carved for the magnificent Four Courts building. This will be done by stonemasons from both organisations at the Engine Shed, Scotland’s new national building conservation centre in Stirling, before being shipped to Dublin.''
“I am very happy that this relationship will not alone provide us with a key part of the replacement stonework we need for the Four Courts, but will also have the added benefit of exposing some of our best Irish craftsmen in stone to a unique opportunity to learn from their Scottish counterparts and to showcase the talents of both in public.”