Phase One: Repair
Phase Two: Restore
Phase Three: Landscape
The Beach Tower, located in Jenkins Lane, with its typical 15th century Irish crenellations is one of the finest mural towers in Waterford. It was built on a rocky outcrop which forms a natural defensive position. The Tower commands a fine view of the River Suir, and in particular it commands a superb view of the up-river approaches to Waterford. From the upper battlements you can see upriver to Granagh Castle.
Archaeologist Ben Murtagh was employed to conduct a survey of the tower and to put forward a program of works to be followed to restore the tower in line with best practice conservation techniques. To facilitate this survey, works were carried out on the Tower at the same time which included the removal of ivy from building, unblocking of original arrow-loops, and a temporary timber floor inserted into the second-floor chamber.
The restoration was divided into three areas:
Phase 1: Repair of masonry inside the Tower, involving the ground, first and second floor chambers, and the stone roof, followed by damp-proofing of the roof, rebuilding of two levels of battlements at the top of the Tower and the insertion of oak floor and stairs.
Phase 2: Restoration of the adjoining city walls which involved two sections of wall. The Removal of 20th century brick was followed by the repair and conservation of the original masonry.
Phase 3: Landscaping and railing-off of a plot of ground that is located on the top of the escarpment adjacent to the tower.
The lower two storeys of the tower are constructed of local slate quarried from the rocky escarpment the tower was built upon. The remaining two storeys are constructed of a mixture of shale, old red limestone, conglomerate and grey carboniferous limestone. Dressed grey limestone was used for the construction of the window loops and doorways.
The Beach Tower was officially reopened by President Mary Robinson on the 26th April 1996. The President was Patron of the Waterford Civic Trust since its inception in 1990. In 1991, the Project was chosen as a Local Awards Winner in the AIB Better Ireland Awards under the Heritage/Environment Category.
Approximately half of the restoration costs were raised locally through the efforts of the Civic Trust, several local firms, merchants, and businesspeople and through their sponsorship it was possible to complete the project.