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Architectural Conservation & Original Drawing Awards 2010

The Irish Georgian Society launched its inaugural Architectural Conservation Awards this year to promote greater appreciation of Irelandís built heritage and to celebrate the conservation and restoration work done in recent years that has breathed life back into many architecturally significant buildings. There were two categories in the awards: one for conservation projects and one for non-CAD (computer-aided design) drawings relating to a historic building.

The standard of applications was very high for both awards and the winners were announced at a ceremony in the Irish Architectural Archive on the Wednesday, 6th October. The Conservation Award was presented to St. Malachyís Church, Belfast, a brick Tudor Gothic, Roman Catholic Church (Architect: Consarc Conservation; Contractor: OíNeill & Brady) and the winner of the Original Drawing Award was Fergal McCabe for his elevation of the garden front of Dublin Castle. Killua Castle, Clonmellon, Co. Westmeath, (Architect: Matthew Shinnors) was also commended by the judging panel.

Architectural Conservation Award Winner

St Malachy's in Belfast - a brick, Tudor Gothic, Roman Catholic Church - was built in the 1840's to the designs of Thomas Jackson. The needs of the building included structural reinforcement and replacement of brick, a new sacristy, new arrangements for access, and redecoration.

St Malachy's Church, Belfast

St Malachy's Church, Belfast

The assessors applauded the extensive but discreet work of the architects of Consarc Conservation. Craftsmen from far afield were selected with great discretion. Replacement materials were carefully chosen. Long-vanished fittings were retrieved. And early decorative schemes were investigated and reinstated. If the conservation was spared the task of adapting the building to a new use, it none the less reinforced in a practical way the original character of the building, thus revealing the quality of what C.E.B. Brett called 'the finest late-Georgian building in Belfast'.

Original Drawing Award

Fergal McCabe, Dublin Castle

Assessors were unanimous in agreeing to award the prize for drawing to Fergal MacCabe for his elevation of the garden front of Dublin Castle.

This is a privileged view: on site, the walls of the castle garden prevent us from seeing the south front in its entirety. This is no Windsor. And no Wyattville (or Francis Johnstonville), ever threw a Romantic mantle over it all. So in this view we move from medieval Bermingham Tower, past an apparently featureless St Patrick's Hall, to the 18th-century State Apartments, and on to the Record Tower and the gothic revival Castle Chapel.

With its projections and recessions, its incident and blank walls, its classical and gothic, its rainy sky and bright sunshine, this fastidious work demonstrates the survival - into the day of CAD - of the ancient art of architectural drawing.


When bought by the present owner it had long been a roofless shell. The task ahead of the conservators is daunting. Work already completed is impressive, involving meticulous stabilisation of the structure and consolidation of surviving fabric. The approach as outlined by the architect Matthew Shinnor is careful, ambitious and informed. Assessors were deeply impressed by what has already been achieved but felt that, in highly commending the work, so much remained to be done that at this early stage it would be premature to recommend Killua Castle for an award.

Killua Castle

Killua Castle, Clonmellon, Co. Westmeath