Saturday 11 October 2014



Thank you for visiting my blog. This is my first experience of publicly posting my thoughts and musings. Even if nobody reads this I feel that the exercise of writing out these articles will be beneficial in itself for me. I grew up in Corbally in the suburbs of Limerick. My third level education has been a series of tangents having initially studied BA in English and History in the U.L followed by MA in the History of Art & Architecture. I finally decided on building conservation completing my M.Sc in Urban & Building Conservation in UCD in 2011. My thesis was titled 'The building types that defined modern Limerick city and the issues arising from the valuation and conservation of mid-twentieth century architecture.' In Ireland I find that a building has to be a certain age before it is generally given value and it is usually no later than the Victorian or Edwardian era. In my thesis I tried to argue my case that it is the architecture that appeared after the birth of the Free State that should not be in the spotlight. I tried to highlight the trailblazers in Ireland in the early decades of the twentieth century who brought in designs from their travels, speakers and publications. A lot has been written on this subject but I find that it is very Dublin-centric.

Here you will find all things twentieth century Limerick (with other cities making the odd appearance from time to time) which I hope in some ways illustrates trends that were happening in the rest of the country. My opening chapters of my thesis looked at how the print media disseminated the latest technology and styles to architectural schools and the different approaches to architectural education. I used three Limerick examples to illustrate this; Patrick J. Sheahan who designed the Mid-Western Regional Hospital (now University Hospital Limerick), Mid-Western Regional Maternity Hospital, St Camillus' Hospital Rehabilitation Centre and St Anne's Vocational School (now LSAD, George's Quay). Sheahan was a Mathematics and Art teacher who became an architect after completing an apprenticeship; Liam McCormick who had designed buildings in Limerick namely the Holy Rosary Church in partnership with Frank Corr on the Ennis Road and the national school next door the John F. Kennedy Memorial School (recently demolished and rebuilt). McCormick studied architecture in Liverpool which combined architecture and town planning; and finally Andy Devane who in a way was a combination of the old system and the new with a B.Arch from UCD and an apprenticeship under the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright in the States.

My first post will be on Devane who improved the lives of so many people in his hometown through his skill and playful imagination. I already know that a large proportion of my posts will be on Devane. He fascinates me. Devane was a genius with concrete. An equally fascinating character who again I wish I met was my uncle Noel who began working for RKD (Robinson Keefe & Devane) when they opened their second practice in Shannon, Co. Clare. On the walls of my parents' house are lovely watercolour painting by Noel and in researching Devane I know my uncle better. Following his older brother my father too made the move from Dublin to Shannon where he settled and eventually began his own architectural practice. I feel that RKD had a small part to play in that and, in a way, me sitting at my laptop in Limerick today.

If you'd like to get in touch please email me ( or you can find me lurking on Twitter @Gilleeece

Thank you

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