The refurbishment of the famous gates of the Phoenix Park, Dublin, which were removed in advance of the visit of Pope Francis, will cost just over €820,000.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) hopes the gates will be rehung by the end of this year with restoration works on them due to be completed by September.
Records obtained following a Freedom of Information request show that refurbishment of the eight pairs of gates will cost €726,735, excluding Vat of 13.5%.
The contract for the work, which the OPW has described as highly specialised, has been awarded to Dublin-based Dunfox, also known as Bushy Park Ironworks.
It has crafted and restored bespoke historic gates and railings at the Shelbourne hotel, Blackrock College, Howth Castle, and the K Club.
The gates, which range in age from 114 to 187 years old, were first taken down in August 2018 before Pope Francis said an open-air Mass attended by 132,000 people in the Phoenix Park.
There have been grumblings in the locality about how long it has taken for the gates to be rehung and for temporary gates to be removed.
However, the OPW said that the project has been complex with a “full conservation assessment of each of the gates” required.
Gerard Kennedy of the OPW said: “[We had] to determine the extent and nature of the restoration works and repairs that would be necessary, with all works to be undertaken in compliance with conservation best standards.”
hey The OPW decided to break the project into two contracts, one for gate restoration and a separate tender for the restoration of adjoining walls and support piers along with traffic management.
The original contract, valued at €726,735 excluding Vat, could only be given to a contractor with “demonstrable expertise” of this type of conservation work.
A number of tenderers visited the site and examined the gates in September 2019 with tender responses returned in October.
The winning bid by Dunfox (Bushy Park Ironworks) was described as the “lowest tender price received”.
The firm started work on the refurbishment of the gates in January with a nine-month timeline for completion of the project by the end of September.
The OPW also said that rehanging of the gates will be a significant piece of work, which may require temporary road closures.
A second contract to carry out masonry repairs to historic walls and piers will be required as well as removal of the temporary gates that have been in place.
The OPW said it was likely the rehanging of the gates would take place over a number of weekends, the “programme for which will have to take account of any already scheduled events in the Phoenix Park to minimise any risks to the public or for the contractors”.