On Saturday 14th May at The Tile Association Awards in Birmingham, Armatile won the ‘Best use of a Tile in a Commercial Contract’ in recognition of its work on this historic old building in Dongahmore. This was an extremely competitive category with Armatile up against three projects in London, Harvey Nichols in Birmingham and Dublin Airport.
Tile and marble surface specialists, Armatile, skilfully created and fitted the beautifully intricate tiling work for the restoration of St Patrick’s Church, Donaghmore. Displaying Armatile’s renowned attention to detail its project team worked in partnership with the client, architects McKeown & Sheilds, designer Eamon Carberry and contractor QMAC Construction to deliver a bespoke, tailored and ornate tile solution that truly enriches the stunning transformation of this 170 year old church.
St Patrick’s Church in Donaghmore is a historic landmark in the County Tyrone countryside that can claim a direct connection to the introduction of Christianity in Ireland around 450AD. Steeped in history the present church was built in the 1840s, during the Great Irish Famine, on the site of an old monastic centre. It was one of the first Catholic Churches built following the end of the Penal Laws in 1829.
Starting in January 2014 the church underwent a 20 month refurbishment project under the guidance of client Fr. Gerard McAleer. The results are breath-taking. It was reopened by Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, on 27th September 2015.
The beautifully intricate tiling at St Patrick’s Church in Donaghmore was provided by the marble and tile specialists at Armatile. Displaying Armatile’s attention to detail, the company worked closely with architect, McKeown and Shields, and interior design expert, Eamonn Carberry, to choose suitable colours and materials for this project.
The steps and altar floor are created from a beautiful Crema Marfil marble hand-selected from quarries in the Alicante region of Spain, an area world renowned for its quality natural stone. An additional strip of black marble has been inserted into the steps for visual impact. Armatile designed and created nine special features to be installed on the first step of the altar. The decorative features were manufactured in Armatile’s custom-built factory in Armagh, using modern waterjet cutting technology to meet an exact specification.
Rich Italian White Carrara marble slabs were chosen for the central piece of each design. These were then surrounded by a bespoke, striking border, depicting vines and leaves, incorporating beautiful warm tones of Sienna, Rojo Alicante and Alpi Verdi marbles.
The new floor in the nave of the church is created in a stunning Victorian style that was designed utilising red and green colours in a geometric pattern on a white background. Within the Victorian floor pattern are a further six intricately-designed features which were all expertly created in Armatile by combining marble, porcelain and brass materials. One of these features has been specifically designed to replicate the breastplate of St Patrick, while another commemorates the martyrdom of Fr Patrick O’Loughran in 1612.
With such a high degree of detail put into the design aspect of this project, the next stage was to ensure that, firstly, the new surfaces were manufactured perfectly, and then the installation process ran smoothly. Peter Rafferty, Contracts Manager with Armatile, outlined how they met the requirements of the marble and tiling work carried out on the steps, sanctuary floor and nave of this wonderful restoration project.
He explained, “Our expert team used waterjet technology operating at 55,000 psi to cut and etch each intricate piece. The complex pattern was then laid out piece by piece in the company’s design studio and carefully hand assembled before it was mounted on mesh sheets to ease installation on site.
“Our experienced team of craftsmen then laid the entire floor, with a careful eye and appreciation for detail required for such a prestigious restoration project.”
The dedication and skill of Armatile’s contract team on-site, supported by the unrivalled expertise of its design and manufacturing team were integral to the transformation and restoration at this historically important church. This is a great example of how Armatile works in partnership with all the project stakeholders and utilises its specialist cutting expertise to provide a tailored ornate tile solutions that give a new lease of life to old buildings.