Ghent – Drongen, Kilkenny limestone benches and steps
Drongen, Irish Blue Limestone
Drongen, a pretty little suburb to the west of the great Belgian city of Ghent, lies on the banks of the river Leie. Its history is interesting, although not particularly unusual for this part of Western Europe. Its Abbey was founded in the seventh century, destroyed, rebuilt and destroyed again, and the latest building, which is very distinctive, is used as a spiritual centre run by the Society of Jesus.
Nowadays, Drongen is known for the rare birds that nest in the low levels of the waterways, but they are only one of the many attractions for the visitors who come to the town. There are lovely waterside villas, and their beautiful gardens are much admired by those who use the river, either by boating on it or by enjoying it from one of the terraces that border it.
When restoration or renovation projects are considered, the appearance of the materials to be used is a very important factor. Drongen, in common with Brussels and other great Belgian cities, chose Irish Blue Limestone for its new benches and terraces, and this lovely stone blends perfectly with the natural forms and colours of the river. The designers and planners chose solid pieces of Kilkenny Limestone, with a fine sanded finish, which has given it its beautiful colour.
In contrast, but using the same stone, the walls of the terraces were clad in a flamed finish.
The producers of the stone are particularly proud of its success on mainland Europe because it is a clear testimony to its superior quality that the finance departments of these towns and cities, not known for waste or extravagance, saw that the benefits of Irish Limestone outweighed the additional costs involved in transporting it.