Valentia slate for British parliament

Mon, Feb 18, 2013, 00:00

The British Houses of Parliament in Westminster are to be laid with slate from the quarry on Valentia Island off the coast of Co Kerry.

The buildings are undergoing a a major restoration at the moment. The unique blue-purple slate only found on Valentia was used in several Victorian buildings, including at Westminster, by the architect Augustus Pugin in the 1840s.

The current restorers were reminded of this by local men who finally managed to reopen the quarry in the late 1990s, after it had been closed for 90 years.

A delegation including the restoration architect Adam Wabtrosky, along with representatives of the main restoration contractors DBR London, visited the quarry this weekend to see for themselves how the slate is hewn from the clifftop on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

First opened in 1816 by the Knight of Kerry, the major landowner in the area, the quarry at Valentia once provided work for hundreds and the slate was prized by builders