To tell the story of Irish Blue Limestone you need to go back about 370 million years. Obviously at that time Ireland was not the green countryside which everyone is now familiar with in the guide books, but rather part of the floor of a shallow inlet of the sea. This inlet lay on the southern edge of a large landmass which included the present day North America, Europe and Asia and was about 5 degrees North of the equator.
During this long geological history the Dinantian sediments changed from soft unconsolidated muds into the limestone beds that underlie much of the central part of Ireland.
All over Ireland ancient monuments can be found from early pre-christian tombs to Christian celtic stone crosses. The uniformity of this stone, and the potential to split out thin slabs of consistent thickness, made this material attractive to the early stone masons.By the middle of the 19th century almost every village on the outcrop of this limestone had a small quarry that was worked to provide building stone for the local population.
Irish Blue Limestone is available in four different grades. The highest grade is monumental stone. This is a very uniform limestone with few surface imperfections. These properties make it ideal for carving and limestone of this class can hold very fine detail when used in sculpture, headstones, plaques, or ornamental features. The stone will develop a deep lustrous polish.
Class A limestone is used for building or restoration work whereas Class B limestone is normally used for cladding and ashlar work in the building industry. The Carboniferous Period left much of the island of Ireland covered by limestones. Over 2,000 years of use as a building material has established their durability. Irish Blue Limestone has been used for centuries as the material of choice for the construction of prestige buildings. It can be worked to provide colours that range from deep blue black to subtle blue grey and surface textures ranging from silky smooth to positively aggressive. In the hands of a skilled architect, designer or mason the combination of colours and textures can bring the most mundane structure to life or produce stunning variations with the interplay between light and texture.