UK Trip Report – NFRC / Ffestiniog & Penrhyn Quarry / Dublin Slate Roof Tour

The NSA Board visited the NFRC show in London, England, Ffestiniog & Penrhyn Quarry in Wales, and historic slate roofs in Dublin, Ireland.

National Federation of Roofing Contractors Show

The NFRC award show was held in London on May 12th, 2023. The NFRC is the UK’s largest and most influential roofing trade association, promoting contractors and quality products, and ensuring that its members are at the forefronts of all roofing development. 19 awards were given out spanning categories such as Sheeting & Cladding, Small Scale Project, Roof Slating, and Roof of the Year award to name a few. The event was hosted by broadcaster Colin Murray and was a first class run award show that the United States could take a few notes from.

Ffestiniog Slate Cavern

The group toured the Deep Mine Tour by Zip World of Ffestiniog in Wales. The slate caverns were toured by a guide named Phil who was a generational “rock man”. We learned all about the work by the former miners and saw first-hand where the world-class slate was produced by local men and children, who risked their lives everyday to provide the world with this famous slate. Credit Bob Raleigh of Renaissance Historic Exteriors and John Chan of Durable Slate for many of the pictures & video.

Penrhyn Quarry

Welsh Slate hosted the group the second day and allowed the Penrhyn quarries to be toured. We saw the current quarry, past quarries, and production of the stone arriving to the mill and being processed. We were able to split slate and learn about all of the hard work it takes to get the material to the pallet for shipment. This was a professionally run organization and great to see for comparison to North American quarrying.

Dublin Slate Roof Tour

After taking a ferry over to Dublin, we spent the next day viewing slate roofs around the area. Peter Lagan & Martin O’Brien of Lagan Building Solutions showed us the sites of the historic section of Dublin such as Trinity College, Christ Church, the Dublin Castle, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The group got a chance to visit the “Temple Bar” section and take in the sights of the Irish.

What’s Next?

Getting large groups together and planning these trips is an arduous task. The NSA extends its utmost thanks to Clay Heald of New England Slate and Michael Halle from Welsh Slate for making the trip possible. The organization of 25+ people does not go unnoticed. Moving forward, the NSA will look into touring other quarries around the world in Spain, Argentina, and China for potential trips. We will keep you notified. Thanks for reading.