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Bailieborough Courthouse, First phase to start on site

  • By Cooney Architects

We are delighted to be the architects involved on the first phase of the Bailieborough Courthouse refurbishment project.

This article, Published in The Anglo-Celt Website 10th September, 2017 by Seamus Enright, details the first and second phase of the project.

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Directors of the Bailieborough Development Association outside the courthouse. Left to Right Robert Smyth, Leslie McKeague, Shirley Hall, Chairman Peadar Reynolds, Jim Maguire, Kevin Smith, Hubert Jennings

A letter of offer for funding received last week by the Bailieborough Development Association (BDA) now means the local community group can push ahead with plans to fulfil phases one and two of ambitious proposals to develop the former town courthouse.

Funding of €100,000 to transform the building into an economic and tourism centre was received late last year under the Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) Programme, with a second more substantial allocation of more than €370,000 set to come under PEACE IV.
“It is exciting, very exciting,” admitted BDA Chairman Peadar Reynolds, when speaking to The Anglo-Celt.
“It is an iconic building in the town, and it’s important that now, in the not too distant future hopefully, it can be a place all the community can benefit from.”
Built in 1817 the historic courthouse, complete with Bridewell jail dating back to 1833, has remained empty since former tenants and owners Cavan County Council moved their district roads’ services office from the dilapidated property in 2015.
At the time it was suggested that bringing the courthouse up to spec could cost in the region of €380,000. A feasibility study was carried out in 2016 by BDA to determine the possibility of restoring and renovating the courthouse as a community resource. The local organisation is now on course to sign a lengthy lease for the property with the Council.

All positive

Work on Phase 1, an upgrade to existing office accommodation, is due to start in the coming weeks, with BDA currently evaluating tenders, while Frank Cooney Architects have been appointed to manage design.
Once completed, it will provide office space to rent, as well as ‘hot-desks’ for business people living locally looking to avoid a commute to larger urban centres. The scheme has already proven hugely popular at the BDA’s offices at the Bailieborough Community Training Centre, where workers can avail of services including high-speed broadband, fax and printing, and audio conferencing services.
“It’s important that we are retaining jobs in the town,” explains Lee McDonnell, manager of BDA services. “Office space like that will mean people living locally have the opportunity to stay locally should they choose. The business might not be right here, but the extra cup of coffee, or newspaper, the lunch bought during the course of the day feeds back into the local economy.
“We started off with just one hot-desker, and from him he has encouraged another two to take up places. There are more now who want to do it but we have to manage the space. It’s all positive.”
The civil works on Phase 1 are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

For Phase 2, the latest tranche in funding secured under PEACE IV’s ‘Shared Spaces’ scheme, the group will progress plans to develop the courthouse as a multi-purpose community and performance space, with seating for up to 120 people. In total, some €373,000 will be received from the European fund designed to support peace and reconciliation. Work on Phase 2 is scheduled to commence in January 2018 and should be completed by September 2019.
The third and final phase will seek to restore Bridewell Jail for commercial and tourism purposes.
Also provided will be a visitor centre and museum detailing Bailieborough’s plantation history, with the BDA already engaging with Ian Crozier, CEO of the Ulster Scots Agency. As part of their research going forward BDA have visited other courthouse developments, from Dowra in West Cavan to Wicklow Jail, as well as Oughterard in Galway.
“We want to make sure what we put into the courthouse in Bailieborough is multi-functional and multi-use. We want to put life back into it,” says Lee.
Peadar points to the BDA’s successful track record since the mid-1990s in running local enterprise initiatives, and hopes the courthouse can be the latest rewarding venture. for the town.
“We have always been able to keep our heads above water, repay our bank loans, while also providing an important service to the town and its business people. We want that to continue with the courthouse as an important part of that,” he added.

For original article please click this link:–plus-windfall/



A beautiful autumn day in Dunganny, Co. Meath

  • By Cooney Architects

Meath GAA Centre of Excellence looks great in sunny days!
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Frank Cooney hits the high ropes

  • By Cooney Architects

Frank visited Carlingford Skypark.  If anyone knows Frank well they know that working at a height is not something he’s that fond of!





Bothar Brugha – St. Patricks National School, Drogheda

  • By Cooney Architects

St. Patrick’s National School, Bothar Brugha, Drogheda, Co. Louth coming out of the ground.

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The Hair Academy School is progressing on site!

  • By Cooney Architects

The following photos are from site visit on 11th August, 2017.

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Below are two rendering images of future Hair Academy School, located in Kilmainham, Dublin 8.

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Cooney Architects are the architects involved in the pre-tender design, tender design and construction stage of the I-Lofar Visitor Centre project

  • By Cooney Architects

Cooney Architects are the architects involved in the pre-tender design, tender design and construction stage of the i-Lofar Visitor Centre project. The i-Lofar telescope in Ireland complements the European i-Lofar system, connecting to The Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany, England and Poland.

€2m radio telescope switched on in Offaly 

This article, Published in RTE Website Thursday, 27 Jul 2017 15:35


A new €2 million radio telescope has been officially turned on at Birr Castle in Co Offaly.

The Irish Low Frequency Array, or I-LOFAR, is part of a €150 million network of radio telescope stations spread across seven European countries.

The system will be used to study objects near and far away from Earth, including the Sun, black holes, magnetic fields, and the emergence of galaxies in the early Universe.

I-LOFAR is made up of 3,000 individual antennae and 55km of wires and cables spread out across an area the size of a football field.

It links into the international LOFAR network, which comprises thousands of antennae that record measurements at the lowest frequencies that can be observed from the Earth.

Together it makes up the largest virtual radio telescope dish in the world, with a diameter of 2,000km.

All of the 51 antenna stations across the network connect back via high-speed fibre optic cable to a central core in Exloo in the Netherlands.

The data is then combined and processed on a supercomputer in Groningen in the north of the country.

€1.4 million of the funding for the project came from Science Foundation Ireland, with the balance coming from a variety of sources including businessmen Joe Hogan, Dermot Desmond and Denis O’Brien, as well as local donors and fundraisers in the Birr area.

Open eir has also provided the high-speed fibre optic link for the project.


The annual membership fee for LOFAR will be funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

The station was opened this morning by Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan.

The LOFAR network was designed and built by ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy.

Thirty-eight of the antenna stations are in the Netherlands, six in Germany, three in Poland and one each in France, England, Sweden and Ireland.

I-LOFAR will be run by a consortium of Irish astrophysicists, computer engineers and data scientists, representing Irish universities and institutes of technologies from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.


The consortium is led by Trinity College Dublin, with partners from University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Athlone Institute of Technology, the National University of Ireland Galway, University College Cork, the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and Armagh Observatory & Planetarium.

The new telescope is located at Birr Castle which has a long history in astronomy.

In 1845, the 3rd Earl of Rosse built the 15-metre long Leviathan – the biggest optical telescope in the world at the time, which remained so for 75 years.


For further information see:



Brook House, Co. Kilkenny on site photos

  • By Cooney Architects

Cooney Architects project, Brook House, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, for Camphill Communities, is nearing completion on site.


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Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance Housing Scheme, Poppintree, Dublin

  • By Cooney Architects

We have been delighted to work on this project in Poppintree, Dublin with O’Hanlon & Farrell Building Contractors for the Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance Cooperative Housing Development.

This article, Published in RTE Website, Tuesday, 11 Jul 2017 09:53

Owners of the first five houses in an affordable housing scheme have officially received the keys to their new homes today.

The estate in Ballymun, Dublin, is a housing co-operative which will have 49 houses in total. All have now been allocated.

Prices start at €140,000 for a two-bedroom, €160,000 for a three-bed, and €199,000 for a four-bedroom house. The house prices are more than 30% lower than the market value of similar properties in the area.

It is expected they will all be built and occupied by September 2018.

The land was owned by Dublin City Council, which provided it at a heavily discounted rate. The co-op was then asked to give priority to people in the area.

Buyers have to meet eligibility criteria with couples earning no more than a combined income of €79,000 a year.

A 10% deposit and mortgage approval were also required and all residents have to sign up to a charter.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said he believed the scheme might be a bit of a game changer when it comes to the delivery of affordable housing and believes it could be replicated across the country.

Mr Murphy said he believed it is something that other councils should do.

He said he would be talking to all local authorities next week about some of the plans he has about how they can do more to make sure they are delivering affordable housing as well as social housing.

Minister Eoghan Murphy handing Helen Cheevers the keys to her new home

Minister Eoghan Murphy handing Helen Cheevers the keys to her new home


For further information see:



Handover of First 5 houses in Poppintree

  • By Cooney Architects

We have been delighted to have been involved in the new cooperative housing scheme in Popintree, Dublin, working with the contractors O’Hanlon and Farrell (  There was a  ceremony to mark the handover of the first 5 houses at our Cooperative Affordable scheme in Poppintree, by Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance  on the 10th of July.

Minister Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government visited the site and the first new residents.

He met the home owners and visited one of houses and was introduced to the guests by the Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance Chairman, Trevor Keogh.IMG_0590 IMG_0589