Irish Projects


When he is not constructing a first World War memorial garden in the moat of the 14th century Château de Péronne in the Somme in northern France, landscape gardener Peter Donegan lives in Ballyboughal in north Co Dublin.

“Ballyboughal is a small enough place of about 650 people,” he says. “It’s a farming village. A fine pint of Guinness aside, there’s not a million miles of a difference between it and Péronne.”

The Jardins de la Paix (Gardens of Peace), a series of new perennial gardens dotted around the Hauts-de-France region, will pay tribute to those who gave their lives on French soil between 1914 and 1918, and bear witness to the countries involved in the conflict. One of the gardens, selected to represent participants from Ireland and Northern Ireland in the first World War, is being created in the dried-up moat of the Château de Péronne by Donegan.

The Dublin-based landscaper was selected by a French jury to design the Irish garden in the château, and is currently living in France overseeing the project. He is one of 14 international designers chosen to design nine memorial gardens overall.

The Château de Péronne, home of the Historial de la Grande Guerre, or Museum of the Great War, is a medieval castle dating back to the 14th century, which was badly damaged while under German occupation during the first World War and again during the second. It is the biggest museum in Europe about the first World War.

Donegan is in the process of transforming its dried-up moat, nine metres below street level which was just grass and pathway when he began, into a garden for the people of Péronne, but with an Irish twist.

“The garden is in its simplest form is split into two gardens – the bridge over the moat already achieves this – and one is for family and friends to spend time together, while the other can be considered a little more aesthetic,” he explains.

“The timber seating and tables, hollowed in the centre to allow fruit trees grow up in between and to provide shelter from the sun, are hand made and planed from pine wood sourced as locally as possible, while the 12-metre long limestone seat has been designed loosely based on Dún Ducathair on Inis Mór.”

Donegan started gardening when he was five, growing plants under his bed. “I was that child who kept on asking why my plants had started leaning towards the light; what I know now, by definition, to be phototropism,” he says.

Donegan plans to have the chateau project completed by October, and hopes this may be just the beginning of his work in France.

“Being selected to represent Ireland to design and build a garden in such a location and for such a reason is more than any other honour I could dream of. It really means a lot when the Irish Ambassador in Paris, Patricia O’Brien, the Irish in France Association, and the Mayor of Péronne personally have taken the time to wish me well,” he says.

“The greatest compliment I can take from this garden when I return next year will be to find wear patches on the lawn; that the sound of the people laughing can be heard bellowing off the castle walls upwards onto the street outside – something that never here ever existed before… When you get to see a person spend time in a space, smile and thank you for what you have done there, it is the most amazing feeling in the world.”

Irish Times



The project comprises of the renovation and extension to the rear of a 1930′s semi-detached house in Clontarf. The house was modernized 15 years ago but with the arrival of the owners two children, the house, and its extension, no longer fulfilled the owners’ needs. The brief was to insulate and refurbish the original house and enlarge and improve the rear extension to provide a family room and kitchen at the ground and a new master bedroom on the first floor.

The new addition is a dense brick tower framed between two existing trees. The brick, expressed externally and internally, is stitched together with the original house by a corner glass door addressing an existing patio space. The brick walls have a tapering section to support the structure of the new master bedroom which contrasts in function, texture, and lighting to that of the living space.


The brick echoes that of the existing front façade of the house. The use of brick externally and internally seeks to make the new structure as much a part of the garden as it is of the house by blurring the threshold between house and garden/ Inside and outside, while also bringing warmth, and a sense of permanence and security to the new addition. The south elevation has a double height window, drawing south light into the extended family space. The garden façade has offset windows to create a ‘social façade’ between the master bedroom and west facing concrete bench.


Naas Racecourse has unveiled its brand new ‘Feature Building’ at its recent National Hunt race meeting.

The new Feature Building was created as part of a €3.2 million HRI Capital Development Scheme which commenced last year. It is an unusual structure; cylindrical in shape, it boasts wrap around glass and several balconies which snake around the building offering incredible views to the track and adjacent Parade Ring. Located just between the Grand Stand and Parade Ring the Feature Building will house a public sports bar on the ground floor while a stunning Owners and Trainers Lounge is located on the first floor. The Owners and Trainers Lounge enjoys 180-degree views of the track making it one of the world’s premier vantage points to view steeds in motion.

It was designed by architects and design consultants, Turnburry Design Consultants in London, who have a speciality in racecourse design and is believed to be the only racecourse building of its kind in Britain and Ireland. The innovative cylindrical design allows for greater vantage points for the general racing public and owners and trainers alike. Naas Racecourse itself is a boutique style track- everything is easily accessible, and spectators can get up close to the action which results in an engaging and exciting racing experience.

Read full article in Plan Magazine January/February issue now available on subscription, email


A Home from Home!

Plan Magazine had the pleasure of being given a guided tour of the show flat of latest purpose-built student accommodation project of Global Student Accommodation (GSA), Ardcairn House, just a two-minute walk from the DIT Grangegorman campus in Dublin 7.

The state-of-art residence, designed by MOLA Architects and being built by Bennett Construction, comprises a 571 ensuite bedrooms in a combination of cluster and studio flats. The development will also include a 2,700m2 LIDL and other commercial offers.

Showing the development to Plan Magazine – with justifiable pride – was Aaron Bailey, GSA’s Development Director. “Creating a home from home is the intention, giving students a real sense of ownership and enjoyment during their time living here,” says Arron. “We’ve put a huge amount of effort into our student communities in Dublin and it’s been incredible to see such phenomenal demand for our offering. We want all of our developments to be a living destination of choice for students.

Read full article in Plan Magazine March/April issue now available on subscription, email



9 Below is a funky new addition to Dublin’s bar scene, located in the basement of Stephen’s Green Hibernian club operated by NolanClan.

The bar’s lavish decor and design is the work of interior designers O’Donnell O’Neill. The bar comprises four rooms that exude character thanks to the opulent use of mahogany panelling and brass detailing throughout. Bespoke bar installations and eye-catching wall and floor finishes enhance the luxuriant brass styling. Art deco themes are vivid in the design, particularly in the choice of lighting, with easy chairs and sofas featuring throughout the many quiet corners and alcoves.


At the centre of the bar is a feature glass cabinet containing gleaming amber bottles of high-end whiskey. Swallow motifs on the ceiling above the bar also make for a striking appearance.

This is a high-end bar for sure and its stylish design is sure to be reflected in its stylish clientele.


Read full article in Plan Magazine January/February issue now available on subscription, email



International hotel management company, The PREM Group, are preparing to enter the final phase of a major €6.5 million redevelopment of their latest acquisition, Cahernane House Hotel in Killarney. Purchased by the PREM Group in 2016, Cahernane House Hotel has undergone extensive renovations over the past 18 months in a bid to return the luxury mansion house to its former glory, though the work has been carried out with a sympathetic eye on keeping many of the original styles of the house largely thanks to interior designer consultant Julie Goggin.

The latest part of the project, estimated at a cost of €3 million, will result in a major refurbishment of all 26 rooms in the Garden Wing, while the Cellar Bar and lobby will also receive complete makeovers. The doors of the 4-Star fine manor house hotel will be closed throughout January and March to allow for the renovations.

The initial phases of work carried out by the PREM Group began almost immediately after their purchase of the property, and this involved putting on a new roof, replacing all mechanical and electrical installations and complying with fire and safety regulations throughout. Interior designers with an expertise in historical features and structures were brought in as part of the redesign, and many of the eye-catching parts of the house, such as the original sash windows, were painstakingly restored and given a new lease of life.

Read full article in Plan Magazine January/February issue now available on subscription, email


Bewley’s Grafton Street Reopens its Doors

– The Heart and Hearth of Dublin returns to Grafton Street

Bewley’s Grafton Street, one of Dublin’s most iconic and celebrated landmarks, reopened its doors recently. After a multi-million-euro refurbishment, the much-loved and much-missed café is ready to welcome back customers.

Regulars will find that the uniquely outstanding elements of the original café have been carefully restored – the Harry Clarke windows, the banquettes, the ten open fireplaces and the Egyptian-motifed façades on Grafton Street and Johnson’s Court. Customers will find that the building has been opened up and reimagined to allow more natural light, and stunning new design elements including both black Carlow oyster limestone and white Carrara marble. There’s an open-concept bakery so customers can see old favourites such as the Sticky Buns and new delights like Bewley’s Café Gourmand being crafted by some of Europe’s finest patissiers and bakers.

Seating throughout the café is table service and customers can also enjoy their coffee Italian-style while standing next to the new Bar Italiano in the front café.

Commenting on the reopening of Bewley’s Grafton Street, Paddy Campbell of Bewley’s said, “It’s a dream come true that Bewley’s Grafton Street is open again and that it’s finally achieved the beauty that we’ve always aspired to. And at a functional level, customers will experience a place that has been designed so that we can deliver great service and the best coffees and teas in town.”

“I grew up in inner-city Dublin and Bewley’s Grafton Street has always had a very special place in my heart. There are customers who’ve been coming here for seventy years, such is our legacy. And now there’s the opportunity to welcome younger generations to the wonders of the place. We hope that it will make people proud. Something unique in the character of Dublin has been missing and I’m thrilled it’s back.”

Bewley’s Grafton Street showcases the Bewley’s tradition of excellence and expertise in tea and coffee, with world-champion baristas turning out world-class beverages. All the coffee is Fairtrade certified and the ethical commitment continues with the building’s leading-edge sustainability practices.

Bewley’s award-winning teas and coffees are available in Bewley’s Grafton Street, as well as in supermarkets nationwide and online at


Glory Days Return at the Stella

The iconic Stella cinema in Rathmines in Dublin, which first opened in 1923, has been restored to its 1920s art deco glory. The restoration is said to have been aided by historical photos and research into the original cinema; Inspired by luxury cinemas internationally, it is the brainchild of the Press Up Group who enlisted the interior design talent of ODonnell ONeill Design.

The cinema’s 1980s facade was removed and the original was uncovered and now approximates the granite and brick of the original; a small section of the granite surround remained, and served as a guide to recreate the original 1920s facade.

Inside, the foyer boasts wooden dark grey panelling, and a white and black mosaic floor, with the S for Stella as the centrepiece, surrounded by hand-laid fan-patterned mosaics. Together with another similar floor area outside the main auditorium door, it is a faithful reproduction of an original floor upstairs at balcony level.

Read full article in Plan Magazine November December issue now available on subscription, email


LinkedIn EMEA HQ Opens

LinkedIn’s new Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) headquarters has now opened its doors in Dublin, Ireland. AECOM with RKD Architects delivered design and project management for the new sustainable 17,600 sq.m development. The new site provides capacity for over 1,000 staff for LinkedIn’s Irish base.

The development includes a commercial kitchen and restaurant, gym and wellness centre, flexible meeting space, feature stairs connecting each floor via an atrium and public realm improvements.

The building is designed to a LEED Gold standard owing to its various sustainable attributes. These include an innovative, integrated and sustainable drainage system, which significantly reduces discharge rates to Irish Water grid whilst incorporating rainwater harvesting to reduce the demand on public water supply. The pump for the water system is linked to the building management system onto a single network platform for remote monitoring and control.

In addition to the above, the façade of the building combines stringent thermal standards to reduce heating and cooling demands whilst allowing the necessary daylight to the occupied space. The façade system uses an active blind system that reduces the direct solar heat gain in periods of high level solar glare. The cavity between the blind and glazing–which would traditionally retain heat and radiate back into the building– is ventilated by extract fans in the ceiling void. This system reduces heat gain by 81%.

AECOM also completed the structural engineering of the building, which consists of a braced reinforced concrete framed structure and traditional flat slab construction. The basement structure is formed by a perimeter secant pile wall due to the presence of a high ground water table. The building frame is also supported on the perimeter secant piles and internally on pile foundations. Primary structural steelwork frames support the open air plantrooms on the fifth floor and the pop-up atrium roof. Open air terraces occur on every level of the building from second floor to fifth floo.

Read more in the September/October issue of Plan Magazine available on subscription email


National Treasure reopens

The National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin has reopened to the public following a period of extensive refurbishment and modernisation of its historic wings on Merrion Square.

The multimillion-euro refurbishment project was carried out by the Office of Public Works’ Project Management Services, with architects Heneghan Peng as the Design Team Leaders. The project is co-funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the National Gallery of Ireland, and the Office of Public Works. Central to the modernisation work has been the construction of a state-of-the-art underground energy centre housing vital services for the entire Gallery. Original nineteenth-century architectural features and spaces are revealed and majestic windows now open onto a spacious light-filled courtyard created by Heneghen Peng. This new courtyard dramatically enhances visitors’ orientation between the historic Dargan and Milltown wings. It is also the site for a dramatic sculpture, Magnus Modus, by Joseph Walsh, commissioned by the Office of Public Works on behalf of the National Gallery of Ireland under the Per Cent for Art Scheme.

The period of refurbishment allowed for an extensive survey of the Gallery’s permanent collection. More than 450 works underwent conservation and research. The most spectacular of these is Daniel Maclise’s The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife (1854), which, after an ambitious conservation and research project, supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, has been preserved for future generations and returned to the elegant surrounds of the Shaw Room in the Dargan Wing.

Sean Rainbird, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland says: “We are delighted to welcome back all our visitors to enjoy the Gallery’s beautifully restored buildings on Merrion Square. We anticipate many visitors from Ireland and abroad to view our new presentation of the permanent collection and attend our exciting programme of exhibitions and public events. The refurbishment project has been a great success. We kept our doors open to the public throughout the lifetime of this project, and, remarkably, with over 80% of its galleries closed during that period, we attracted attendances of over 700,000 annually. We are indebted to our visitors for their patience and support throughout, to the Office of Public Works and design team, led by Heneghan Peng, and our parent Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. This project begins a vibrant new chapter in the Gallery’s future.”

Read more in the July/August issue of Plan Magazine available on subscription email