My father Leo McGirl died peacefully last month after several years of illness. Leo was a building contractor (carpenter by trade). He was employed in Dublin in the 1960s and worked on among other things the bases of the Pigeon House/Poolbeg chimneys. Like many others of his generation, the farming skills from a small landholding […] Read more – ‘leo mcgirl rip and how building has changed’.
A house on Waterloo Road, Dublin 4 gets re-roofed for the first time since it was constructed c1850 supported by a BHIS 2023 grant. The opportunity was taken during the works to insulate the roof from above without interfering with sloped areas of lath & plaster ceilings below. Thermo Hemp Combi Jute was used which […] Read more – ‘insulating a historic roof from above’.
The landed estate and the “big house” was the centre of the rural economy in Ireland in the 18th and early 19th century based on the agrarian rental system between landlords and tenant farmers. This changed in the late 19th century when after the famine declining rents resulted in many estates being massively encumbered with […] Read more – ‘historic regional town bank development’.
The roofspace can often present the “low hanging fruit” in terms of energy upgrade potential in a historic building by comparison with other heat loss elements such as walls, windows and floors. Unless the roof presents itself as a cold roof with a large accessible attic working space and a flat ceiling which can easily […] Read more – ‘how to insulate and ventilate old house roofs’.
Above: (Left to right) Calcitherm Caclium Silicate board, Gutex wood fibre board, Remmers iQtherm board, Diasen Diathonite While many of our traditional buildings have been sitting inefficient and unmolested for several hundred years, the development of improved energy standards and thermal comfort levels in modern buildings in recent years has created a new benchmark against which […] Read more – ‘how to insulate old house walls’.
The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) was the police force in Ireland (outside Dublin) from the early 19th century until 1922. From the 1850s the RIC performed a range of civil and local government duties together with their policing, integrating the constables with their local communities. While “barracks” in cities resembled those of the British Army, […] Read more – ‘oldcastle, co. meath former RIC barracks building’.
We were looking at railing reinstatement work to 19 Gardiner Street Upper recently. The terrace of which it forms part is located at a typical fault line between the earlier 18th century Georgian development of the Mountjoy Square area and the Victorian development of Gardiner Street Upper further north which took place some 80-100 […] Read more – ‘victorian railings reinstatement between the centuries’.
We collaborated with Ciaran Adamson Design on another original project to design a new office fit out for Athletics Ireland, the national governing body for Athletics in Ireland. We sought to create an interior working space that reflected the ethos and identity of the sports body. Playful elements within the interior reflect the volunteer ethos […] Read more – ‘athletics ireland office fit out’.
We have recently provided conservation consultancy to OMS Architects for a planning application for the extension of the Cliff at Lyons Hotel, Celbridge . The sensitivity of the site relates to its proximity and historic relationship with the adjoining Lyons house and demesne. The existing historic hotel buildings originally formed a lockyard, flanking the Grand Canal. The […] Read more – ‘cliff at lyons, celbridge – hotel development in a historic setting’.
We recently provided conservation consultancy to a local design team in Dundalk in relation to alterations, extension and change of use of two early 19th century buildings at 1-2 Seatown Place to cafe and residential use. The buildings are protected structures as well as being located in the Seatown Place ACA. Our input related to design […] Read more – ‘conservation report of building and design consultancy, dundalk’.
A large element of the character of Marino comes from it’s varied and unique roof lines generated by a variety of materials, roof types, features that follow the curving pattern of the roads and step with the levels of the area. A variety of roofing materials were used which emulated the style of estates at Roehampton and […] Read more – ‘early 20th century garden city roofscapes in marino, dublin’.
One of the tasks of the “Built to Last” study of Dublin’s pre-1945 housing stock that we undertook with others for Dublin City Council in 2013 was a classification of Dublin’s house types from 1700-1945. The task was an ambitious one given the broad historic period and variety of houses from different periods to be considered. […] Read more – ‘classification and typology of dublin houses’.
We have a recent decision to grant planning permission for a mews development to the rear of a protected house on Leeson Steet Lower which is current on site in 2020. The three-storey development features an open plan living space at ground floor level and bedrooms at first and second floor accessed via a stairs light […] Read more – ‘leeson street mews house dublin 2’.
Most residential interior design projects these days feature the ubiquitous white or magnolia colour scheme to walls. We are involved in works to a modest house in Marino which has revealed a very different approach to interior colour schemes in the city from the 1920s. Residential development from this period predated the advent of central heating in ordinary […] Read more – ‘interior 1920s decorative schemes, marino, dublin 3’.
Bedford House , Balbriggan, Co. Dublin was originally constructed as a glebe/rectory c1750 but was converted to a nursing home at the end of the 20th century with a substantial single-storey extension to the rear. It is a protected structure with a regional rating of importance on the NIAH. The new owners who wished to convert the […] Read more – ‘insulation/energy retrofit of a protected structure, balbriggan’.
Above: Daoine Oga modular-built community childcare facility, Navan Is modular building a cost effective and efficient way to build? It depends. From 2001-2010 we were involved with the development of a number of similar-sized purpose-built childcare facilities on green-field sites under a national and later European childcare capital funding scheme. Towards the end of the building […] Read more – ‘experiences in modular building: is it more cost effective?’.
The shortcomings of coherent transport planning for Dublin has been well-publicised over the years. It is interesting however to look back at what we have been saved from. The image above was published in the Architectural Review in 1974 in a special edition on Dublin. The before-and-after image was prepared by the magazine to […] Read more – ‘dublin and the 1974 central dublin traffic plan’.
We have been appointed by Drogheda Port Authority to prepare a conservation plan for the Drogheda North Lighthouse. Drogheda North Lighthouse is one of three related lighthouses and associated buildings that were constructed and commissioned in 1842 by the Drogheda Harbour Commissioners to assist in guiding vessels along the estuary of the River Boyne to […] Read more – ‘conservation of drogheda north lighthouse’.
What are the walls of Dublin houses made of? Following the demise of timber-framed house construction in Dublin in the 17th century, the use of brick construction established itself in the early 18th century supported by an act of parliament in 1730 that stipulated quality control measures for local brickmaking. The houses of the 18th […] Read more – ‘historic wall construction of dublin houses pre-1945’.
The stairs in this protected Georgian building had suffered from movement caused by settlement of the party to the adjoining building during basement works. The top flight was a particular concern – this section of stairs was a later addition to a c19th century toilet addition over the stair landing. Opening up showed that the joists had poor […] Read more – ‘repair of a dublin georgian staircase’.
Carstown House, Drogheda is a 17th century protected structure of national importance and a recorded monument. It’s special significance and National Importance relates to the fact that a disproportionately small number of domestic dwellings exist from the 16th and 17th centuries. As much of the building dates from before 1700, it is listed as a […] Read more – ‘lead theft to historic buildings – carstown house, drogheda, louth’.
We have recently completed a Conservation Management Plan for St. Marys Church, Ravensdale. Armagh Diocesan records indicate that construction began on St. Mary’s Church, Ravensdale in 1830. It was probably one of the first churches constructed in Co. Louth following Catholic Emancipation in 1829. An extension was later addedd in the 1860s which comprised of […] Read more – ‘conservation management plan, st. marys church, ravensdale, co. louth’.
The development of childcare buildings as a distinct building typology in Ireland is a relatively recent phenomenon. The boom in the provision of purpose built childcare buildings has been driven by increased childcare demand originally forecasted in The 1998 Study on the Economics of Childcare in Ireland as the labour force and the number of […] Read more – ‘design of childcare buildings – an architect’s experience’.
We have prepared a conservation architect visual impact statement for a residential development that potentially could have impacted on the views of King John’s Castle, Carlingford, Co. Louth and the Architectural Conservation Area of the town. A number of mitigation measures were developed and analysed with the building’s designers by means of photomontages including change […] Read more – ‘visual impact assessment of historic buildings and views’.
We were asked act as architects to provide conservation consultancy to the repair of a Roman cement façade to a building dating from the 1850s on the seafront in Clontarf, Dublin 3. Although not a protected structure, the building is mentioned in “From Village to Suburb: The Building of Clontarf since 1760” by Claire Gogarty. […] Read more – ‘roman cement facade conservation, clontarf, dublin 3’.
There are various types of conservation reports that typically get commissioned for heritage buildings: Architectural Heritage Impact Assessments (AHIA) This type of report typically accompanies a planning application to a Protected Structure. The report assesses the impact of the proposed development on the building and may recommend mitigation measures and include appropriate conservation method statements […] Read more – ‘buildings conservation reports’.
No. 1 Pembroke Road dates from c1850 and formed part of the development of the Pembroke Estate which was developed from 1834 onwards. The estate was influenced by classical trends of Europe which influenced the style of the houses and the planning of straight and wide tree lined streets. Planning regulations were enforced through ground […] Read more – ‘1 pembroke road, dublin 2 conservation architect consultancy’.
The evolution of 20th century windows is illustrated in Marino. The extracts from photographs from the Dublin City Archive in the slideshow above illustrate the window patterns from the time it was built as the first social housing of the newly-independent Free State (for more on the planning history of the estate see here). Marino was built […] Read more – ‘early 20th century window patterns in the marino estate, dublin’.
We prepared an article for the Winter Edition of Selfbuild & Improve Your Home magazine examining the area of allowable glazing and energy efficiency in extensions. The article also featured a commentary on the Northern Ireland regulations which would seem to have a lot more latitude than ours. The full article can be viewed at: […] Read more – ‘caution with glass box extensions!’.
Fergal was speaking at the Home Energy Show area of the Ideal Home Show at the RDS, Dublin on the bank holiday weekend 26 – 29th October with Gerry Duffy of Eurotech and Simon Jones of Aereco. He gave a presentation on “Insulations Made Simple” and a trade masterclass on Part L (Energy Conservation) 2011 […] Read more – ‘ideal home show top home energy saving tips’.
We were recently engaged to prepare a conservation plan for a building in Whitestown, Co. Louth. Whitestown is an example of the “Clachan” rural settlement pattern which was based on the rundale system of collective farming often organised among one or more extended families. The existing fabric of the village is of historical and social […] Read more – ‘clachan village, whitestown, co. louth’.
The owner of a Victorian house in Dublin had suffered an uncomfortably cold period during the severe winter of 2010. We were approached to examine options to make the house more thermally efficient. Having first carried out an energy audit of the house, we developed a package of measures which we considered to be practical […] Read more – ‘energy upgrade of victorian house, ranelagh, dublin’.
Conservation is not just about the grand houses. We were pleased to have completed our first project under the Heritage Council REPS 4 Traditional Farm Buildings Grants Scheme at a traditional barn dating from the 1600s on the Cooley Peninsula near Dundalk. The scheme provides grant assistance for the repair of traditional farm buildings of […] Read more – ‘REPS 4 traditional farm buildings grants scheme conservation’.
Having worked for both Sam Stephenson as an assistant in London in the summer of 1989 and Arthur Gibney & Partners in Dublin for four years after college, I was surprised to learn that there was a Stephenson Gibney house in Ratoath when I was contacted by the owners in March 2010. The house which […] Read more – ‘stephenson gibney house, ratoath’.
A seminar was held by the Dublin Civic Trust on Tuesday outlining the challenges in relation to energy upgrading of historic buildings. Fergal was a speaker on the day in addition to Duncan Stewart, Moses Jenkins of Historic Scotland and Kevin O’Rourke of SEAI. The day which was attended by architects, conservation officers, planners and […] Read more – ‘dublin civic trust energy efficiency in traditional buildings seminar’.
Navan Community Childcare (Daoine Oga) was nominated in the category of best community initiative in the 2011 LAMA Awards. The ceremony was held in the Crown Plaza Hotel last Saturday. The project was pipped by Ardara Urban and Village Regeneration Project (nominated by Donegal County Council) – a good night was nevertheless had by all! […] Read more – ‘LAMA awards ceremony 2011’.
Following on from the opening of Le Cheile Community Childcare in Navan in March 2009, Mary McAleese was back this year to open the First Steps Facility in Dunshaughlin. The President was welcomed to the First Steps Childcare Centre in Lagore, by its chairperson Ellen Cogavin. The ceremony began with a blessing by Fr Clavin, […] Read more – ‘presidential opening at first steps childcare’.
Moygaddy House, Moygaddy, Co. Meath is a two storey over basement Georgian house with attendant courtyard stable outbuildings, paddock and gardens. It was most likely built in the mid 19th century as a farmhouse and equestrian breeding centre. We prepared a heritage impact assessment report to assess the impact of a proposed commercial development masterplan […] Read more – ‘road infrastructure heritage impact assessment – co. meath’.
Duleek Credit Union purchased a 1.5 acre site in 2003 in order to develop an upgraded and enlarged facility and to provide adequate car parking. The design features a two storey banking hall that frames a view of the town from the banking hall and allows the internal activities of the community facility to be […] Read more – ‘duleek credit union, co. meath’.
We were pleased this week to have received notification from the RIAI of Fergal’s accreditation in conservation at Grade II level. The accreditation process followed on from Fergal’s accreditation at Grade III level in 2003 and involved the submission of details of his conservation experience to date and five detailed dossiers of projects/papers completed. Fergal […] Read more – ‘grade II architect accredited in conservation, dublin’.