Zumtobel and its sister brand Thorn, both lighting brands of the Zumtobel Group, worked with Callaghan Electrical Contractors to design a new lighting scheme for the interior and exterior of the last substantial Roman Catholic cathedrals in Ireland.
Completed in 1942, the historic and spectacular Cathedral of Saint Patrick and Saint Felim is the most dominant building in Cavan Town. The monumental neo-classic architecture impresses externally with its 68m spire and flanking domes and is easily one of the town’s most impressive and eye-catching buildings.
Internally, it is vast and awe-inspiring, featuring 28 columns, but it was often viewed as gloomy. Ageing and soaring energy prices meant the Cathedral recently underwent a complete conservation, restoration and upgrade.
Kieran Callaghan, Managing Director of Callaghan Electrical, says, “In 2022, we were appointed as the electrical contractor to carry out the rewiring of this iconic building as part of the restoration project.
The scope of essential works included replacement of the existing electrical installations throughout, fire safety installations and the integration of new technologies, whilst restoring, retaining and enhancing the integrity of the authentic historic fabric of the building.”
All new systems, including LED lighting, were threaded within the historic fabric of the building.
Kieran continues, “When it came to our lighting specialist, based on previous projects, we had no hesitation in working with Zumtobel and Thorn products. Their quality of products, lighting designs, service and availability has always been at the forefront of innovation.”
Subtlety to showstopping
Here, too, the lighting design did not disappoint. The Zumtobel Group’s lighting brands provided a solution for each location, from the ornate interior to the showstopping exterior. The lighting approach differed from subtlety on the inside to showstopping outdoors.
Internally subtlety was key. Despite the vast size, the interior of the Cathedral is adorned with a rich mix of exceptional craftsmanship and artistry, such as intensely detailed stucco ceilings, statues, the mosaic sanctuary floor, apse mural, the Stations of the Cross by George Collie, and stained-glass windows by Collie and Harry Clarke Studios.
Conor Brannelly, Key Account Manager, Zumtobel Group comments, “We needed optimal effect to reflect all the Cathedral’s beauty. So, we decided the best course of action was to hide the interior lighting by using our colour service via My Product to blend in with the building.”
The subtle introduction of Zumtobel’s colour-matched contemporary VIVO 2 LED spotlights and slim and discreet LINELIGHT luminaires complement the restored historic brass pendants, revealing and enhancing the design and craftsmanship of the original building’s interior.
Combining these low-energy LED products creates an atmosphere and reverence worthy of the house of worship.
The high quality of light creates an excellent visual environment enabling the congregation to read and participate in service easily.
As part of the design process, Zumtobel together with their sister brand Thorn, selected various beam angles to meet all the lighting requirements across the space. Wide beams to wash over surfaces, medium beams for the pews and narrow beams for highlighting the many historic features.
Making an impact
Contrastingly (no pun intended), externally the lux levels have been optimised at the front façade and spire to enhance the cathedral’s historic and architectural beauty, with Thorn’s Contrast RGBW architectural floodlights with DMX controls. This will allow the cathedral to configure many different scenes to complement religious days, light shows and Irish events.
In addition, the exterior car park and cathedral entrance has been illuminated with Thorn’s Avenue D2. The luminaires have been customised to a specific RAL colour to complement the cathedral and the existing luminaires.
With the upgrade of the external lighting, the cathedral is now a historic focal point, and its architectural beauty can been seen throughout Cavan town.
Ian Brodigan, Branch Manager Eastern Electrical Dundalk, comments, “When asked by Kieran Callaghan, Managing Director of Callaghan Electrical, who we would recommend as a partner on this job without hesitation Zumtobel and its sister brand Thorn Lighting. As a major partner supplier, I felt that their design, technical expertise, and extensive product offering would enhance this iconic upgrade, and this proved to be the case.
We at Eastern Electrical Dundalk are proud to be associated with both parties, and this upgrade has become a historical focal point for the town of Cavan.
It is a visually stunning upgrade.”
Overall, the internal and external LED lighting provides an excellent low-energy solution with a very long life, reducing the need for maintenance and saving both cost and time.
Find out more about Zumtobel Group here
Photograph accreditation: Adrian Donohoe