Sint Truiden, Irish Blue Limestone
Sint Truiden is not one of Belgium’s great cities. It is a lovely little town set in the fruit-growing region of the Haspengouw, and it is famed for its beer, as well as its fruit. Visitors to the region are often captivated by its air of gentle contentment, peacefully accepting its place as a market town, happy to leave the more clamorous scene of nightclubs and themed bars to its more famous neighbours, Hasselt and Tongeren.
Those who decide to stay and explore a little will learn of Saint Christina the Astonishing, a woman who certainly merits her name. A twelfth century peasant, she was pronounced dead of a seizure and was about to be buried when she not only came to life, but levitated to the rafters of the church, afterwards explaining that she had done so in order to escape the smell of the sinful people gathered there. She lived for many more years, enduring ordeals by fire and ice in order to help redeem the souls of the people of her town.
Less astonishing, but equally eventful, Sint Truiden’s history since then has been one of repeated conquests, destruction and rebuilding. One of the worst disasters in its history was a dreadful fire in 1975, which destroyed many of the famous Abbey’s buildings.
In 2014 Sint Truiden renovated its famous central market place, the Grote Markt, the second biggest market square in Belgium, and has used over six thousand square metres of Kilkenny Limestone paving for the purpose. This successful project was extended to take in an adjacent street, again using the lovely Irish stone, and work will soon begin on the renewal of two more areas. Kilkenny Limestone has been specified in the public tender, a very clear signal that the city is more than satisfied with its original choice of material.
The finish of the small paving strips is Bush Hammered, which gives a rich texture and a safe surface. There are natural variations in the colour of the stone, different beds in the quarries producing stones ranging from a pale blue-grey to a dark tone, where the famous oyster fossils show in a clear contrast.
The Grote Markt is the scene, not only of the famous markets, but of many other events, some of which attract thousands of visitors. The renovation of such an important public space called for the best in materials, as well as value for money, and in choosing Kilkenny Limestone the city planners ensured that this was what they obtained.