Portumna Courthouse is a Protected Structure Reg. 471 on Galway County Councils Record. It is described as a “detached, double fronted four bay two-storey courthouse with roof parapet, advanced end bays and twin door case, c1847 occupying a prominent position in the town.

A grant was secured from The Dept. of Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht under the “Structures at Risk Fund”.



Galway County Council commissioned a local Conservation Architect to undertake a condition and fabric survey on the dentils, cornice and parapet. He carried out a visual inspection reported to Galway County Council and the works went to tender.


The scope of works entailed eleven key points of repairs.


  1. Scaffold access and hoarding to provide safe access and protection to the general public
  2. Removal of vegetation from the structure
  3. Cleaning of the gutter valley behind the parapet and patch repairs
  4. Replacement of missing slates
  5. Repairs to random cracks in the stone work
  6. Repairs to specific cornice stone badly broken
  7. Repairs to specific stones on parapet
  8. Repairs to other specific stone dentils
  9. Repairs to specific capping stones
  10. Re pointing of the mortar joints on the parapet
  11. Re plastering partial areas of the render behind the parapet


Collins Steeplejacks won the tender and were appointed Project Supervisor Construction Stage


We submitted a safety plan to Galway County Council including a traffic management plan hoarding and scaffolding licences. It soon became evident that a number of other issues existed. We noted that the gutter valley had dropped at the rear of the parapet and water damage to the timbers had made it unstable. This was not visible from the initial inspection and the extent could not be determined until further exploration works were carried out. Furthermore the plasterwork at the rear of the parapet was worse than anticipated and was spalling throughout. Some of the capping stones were beyond repair and were shattered. We commenced works cutting back the roots and vegetation to avoid damage to the stonework during physical removal. We photographed, numbered and recorded the stones for replacement. Initially the deterioration of the parapet was due to age mortar had perished in the joints of the capping and allowed water to soak through the wall behind flashings. This combined with freeze thaw action led to cracking of the stonework as the damp progressed through the wall, behind the flashings and affected the timbers. On opening up the inner roof, we found that the inner timbers were unstable and the sunken valley outside was due to a perished sole boarding. This led to the replacement of approx. 7mts of valley and sole boarding as opposed to patch repairs.


Galway County Council in cooperation with the Department of Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht were able to fund the remedial works. Because of our expertise and experience in dealing with complex conservation issues at height we were able to assist in preserving this historic structure.