St Malachy’s Church, Belfast

St Malachy’s Church is located in central Belfast on Alfred Street, a short distance from Belfast City Hall. The building was dedicated in December 1844 and is the third oldest Catholic Church in the city of Belfast and is regarded as one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival churches in Ireland.

Over the years, works were carried out to keep the church functional but in recent years, the church closed for a period to allow the start of a major refurbishment programme to restore the building to its former glory. Externally the stonework and brickwork had deteriorated in look and in some cases integrity. To rectify this, a major cleaning and repair program was undertaken which saw the replacement of approximately 30,000 original handmade bricks.

All flights of steps leading into the church were removed, repaired, and when replaced, were set on new raft foundations, which were necessary due to subsidence experienced by the existing steps. A disability access ramp was also added to the main entrance.

At the rear of the church a new masonry extension, built on strip foundations, was added to contain the sacristy. Internally the altar was replaced and a platform lift was added to provide disabled access to the first and second floors.

The project won many awards including the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors NI Project of the Year Award 2010. Competition judges said the church stood out from other finalists as the refurbishments had been carried out with "minimal intervention and maximum sensitivity combined to produce a church worthy of the attention of serious lovers of architecture, secular or otherwise".