As a master craftsman, Jimmy McKeon was already a skilled carver of stone when he launched his own business quarrying one of the most versatile types of stone in Ireland – McKeon’s Kilkenny Blue Limestone.
McKeon Stone is the sole remaining Irish-owned limestone quarry in Ireland and specialises in providing a bespoke cutting and carving service carried out at their workshop in Stradbally.
Each block of Kilkenny Blue Limestone is unique and natural, telling the story of its geological history through the fossils embedded within. These characteristics embellish and highlight the subtle variations in colour which have led to Kilkenny Blue Limestone being highly prized by sculptors and stone carvers the world over.
Innovative diamond technology is used to cut the limestone in the quarry, guaranteeing accuracy and minimising waste. A sophisticated flocculation system recycles the (mainly rain) water used in a sustainable, eco-friendly process.
When the slabs of limestone arrive at the Stradbally workshop, they are subdivided for use as cladding on building, with the thicker slabs being reserved for sculpture blocks, kerbstones and lintels.
The workshop boasts a fascinating array of machinery, combining 50- year- old frame saws alongside state of the art CNC saws with diamond tools for milling and engraving and supported by the latest digital CAD technology.
McKeon Stone employs a small army of experienced and skilled experts to ensure the quality of service that cannot be matched. The cutting and finishing equipment enables McKeon Stone to supply material within very small tolerances to the specified sizes of each individual client.
Current annual production at the quarry is around 50,000 tonnes, with a large percentage being exported. Belgian architects and builders favour the stone for doorsteps, plinths and windowsills, the City of Amsterdam use it for street kerbing and in Germany, many monuments are carved from it.
McKeon’s Kilkenny Blue Limestone was used as the plinth for the tomb when Richard III was reburied at Leicester Cathedral in 2015, in a ceremony officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury before a royal audience.
McKeon Stone quarried blocks of Kilkenny Blue Limestone and crafted the Cross of Sacrifice featured in Glasnevin Cemetery which was unveiled by President Michael D Higgins and HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent in 2014.Th is was followed by the France Ireland Memorial featuring the Ginchy Cross unveiled by the French Ambassador Jean Piere Thébault in 2017.
For more information – click here for our feature in Machinery Movers Magazine | November 2018