News Archive

Archive Category: Conservation

Cavan Town Hall wins Gold

Cavan Town Hall regeneration (Cavan County Council)

Cavan Town Hall wins Gold as best Heritage project  2020 at the recent All Ireland Community and Council Awards presented by IPB insurance and LAMA.

The premises, built in 1909, designed by Architect William Scott is a landmark municipal building and home to Arts in Cavan. Cavan County Council commissioned Bluett & O’Donoghue  to lead the complete refurbishment of the building to secure its long term sustainability. It now serves as an important focal point for Civic life in Cavan.

Cork Courthouse “Public Building of the Year 2019

We are proud to announce that Cork Courthouse won the award for ‘Public Building of the Year 2019’ at the Irish Building and Design Awards at the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Dublin.  Michael O’Boyle attended the ceremony and collected the award together with Wilson Architecture and BAM Building.  This complex and high profile project required the conservation and adaptation of the nineteenth century former Model School in Cork and the introduction of a modern courthouse extension on a tight inner city site to the rear.  Our work on Mullingar Courthouse was also shortlisted in the ‘Heritage and Conservation’ category at the ceremony.

Cork Criminal Courthouse receives 3 awards.

We are very proud to announce that the Cork Criminal Courthouse by OPW Architects with Wilson Architecture and Bluett O’Donoghue  received three awards at the 2019 RIAI Architectural Awards.. This is a fantastic result following tough competition from 41 shortlisted projects.

  • Winner of  the Innovation award
  • 2nd place in the RIAI Public Choice Awards
  • 2nd place Cultural – Public Building award

Congratulations to Michael O’Boyle  who lead the Bluett & O Donoghue Team.

Irish Architectural Awards 2019

Bluett & O’Donoghue are honored to  have the Cork Criminal  Courthouse shortlisted in the  – Irish Architectural Awards 2019.

The prestigious  development  was completed in conjunction with  OPW Architects  and Wilson Architecture.

Why not vote for  this project:   link to the following RIAI site:

Voting closes at midnight on Friday, 31st May


Tubbrid Castle, Co. Kilkenny, Irish Times, February 2019

A Castle earns its keep in Kilkenny

John Campion Jnr: “Dad put so much effort into saving it from falling down, I felt it would be a shame not to complete the task.”

Many of us dream of being king or queen of the castle but one Co Kilkenny man, a doctor by day and restoration man by night, picked up where his father had left off and turned a tower house, a structure built some 500 years ago and uninhabited for over a century, when it was used as a shed for his family’s dairy herd, into a warm and comfortable home. It took two generations of Campions, a father and son, both named John, to make it happen. Their people have farmed the rich lands of northwest Kilkenny for generations. Tubbrid Castle has always been in their lives. It was constructed in the 1500s reputedly by Margaret Fitzgerald, Eighth Countess of Ormond, and is one of about five in this part of southwest Kilkenny. Skirmishes saw the property pass into the hands of the Shortalls who owned at least three similar structures in the area and then to the local landed gentry, the St Georges. It was still in their ownership when a Catherine Campion, John’s great, great grandmother, is listed in the Griffith Valuation of 1851 as residing in the castle as a tenant of Sir R.B St George.

Tubrid Castle, Portlaw, Co Waterford. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

His great-grandparents bought the lands on which Tubbrid Castle stood around the turn of the 20th century, when the Land Acts allowed tenants to buy the lands they were renting from their landlords. It was a bleak house, Campion recalls, devoid of a roof and no glass in the windows. Around the same time the family moved into a farmhouse a couple of hundred metres from the historical house and they took a limestone fireplace from it with them. Carved in two pieces, each bore the numerals 15 and 96 marking 1596, possibly the year the tower was built.Growing up, John Campion Snr had plans to rehabilitate the tower house. When he had reared his family he started turning those dreams into a reality and began works in 2004 when he was in his mid-50s. He hired a conservation engineer, Ivor McElveen, who suggested he repoint the exterior, put a roof on it and even employed professional stonemasons to rebuild the door and window lintels.He applied for planning permission in 2016 and had to submit archaeological impact reports, and retain an archaeologist throughout the works.

“But the efforts to make it safe and habitable are eclipsed by the original physical effort it took to erect it. In an era of mechanised cranes and power tools the effort is unimaginable.” With his architect, Cormac O’Sullivan of Bluett & O’Donoghue Architects, he went through every detail which meant by the time Murphy Brothers Building Contractors came onto the site much of the problem-solving had been done.

One of the bedrooms in Tubrid Castle, Co Kilkenny. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan
One of the bedrooms in Tubbrid Castle, Co Kilkenny. 
One of the bedrooms, Tubrid Castle, Co Kilkenny. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan
One of the bedrooms, Tubbrid Castle, Co Kilkenny. 
Under th eaves at Tubrid Castle, Co Kilkenny. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan
Under the eaves at Tubbrid Castle, Co Kilkenny.

Full Irish Times article ….. Tubbrid Castle

The Heritage Council Conference, Kilkenny, November 2018

“Dig: the value of archaeology for society and the economy”, November 2018

The Conference addressed the value of archaeology for society and the economy. Michael’s presentation took three late-sixteenth/early-seventeenth century buildings (Rothe House, the Hole-in-the-Wall and Fethard Tholsel) to demonstrate the role of the conservation architect.

Refurbished and extended Waterford Courthouse formally opened

Chief Justice Mr. Justice Frank Clarke joined Minister for Justice & Equality Charles Flanagan at the official opening of Waterford Courthouse on 9th April 2018. Michael O’Boyle was the lead Grade 1 conservation architect for the refurbishment and conservation of the historic Waterford City Courthouse.. The project involved full re-roofing of the courthouse building and portico, stone repairs, the creation of a central entrance hall and the introduction of four fully-serviced courtrooms into the historic wings. The works were carried out in close consultation with the OPW (Office of Public Works). The newly refurbished courthouse contains some 6,000 sq m of accommodation, increased from 1,100 sq m.  There are now six double height courtrooms, and ancillary accommodation for judges and staff, including extensive office facilities. There are consultation rooms for practitioners and clients and a suite to provide a quiet, private and secure area for victims, families and vulnerable witnesses.There are spacious public lobby and waiting areas and spaces for the media to work – both in court and in a dedicated media room. Facilities for persons in custody include a secure entrance for prisoners reducing the public access to them.