Mullingar Court House / Conservation Architecture


The Courthouse at Mount Street in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath - a landmark building, constructed 1824-28 in an Italianate classical composition; to designs by John Hargraves (c. 1788-1833). The repair, refurbishment and conservation of this important building were a central part of the brief for a new courthouse to the rear, the side and on top of the existing building. Mullingar Courthouse was one of four other historic sites as part of a PPP courthouse bundle by BAM PPP. The work included the careful removal of cementitious mortar throughout the exterior ashlar limestone façade, including extensive stone repair of the cartouche at roof level. The historic main entrance cantilevered stone stair case was refurbished, and a new section to access the additional storey at roof level was introduced. The steps finish matches closely the existing stone steps. Particular care was taken to retain and restore any of the few timber sash windows dating back to construction period. The historic and new replacement timber sash windows were painted a deep red that was identified as the original colour through microscopic analysis of the nineteenth century paintwork. Generous entrance steps and a discreet ramp to a contemporary design were introduced as part of the landscaping to the front of the building. The interior of the refurbished building contains administrative accommodation for the Courts Service, with the large volumes of the former classrooms presented as single spaces. As conservation architects, we worked closely with the project architects (CCH Architects) on the integration of the new courthouse extension with the nineteenth century court house. The limestone cladding of the imposing new courthouse extension closely matches the tone of the limestone façade of Mullingar Courthouse front elevation. The diverse trades involved in the completed project included highly-skilled conservation joiners, stone masons, leadworks, ironworkers and bespoke carpenters, all of whom collaborated to deliver an exemplary conservation project.