• Wednesday , 13 November 2019

O’Daly Architects Win Competition for Glasnevin 1916 Centenary Chapel

Dublin-based O’Daly Architects has been chosen as the winner of an international architectural competition to design a Chapel to commemorate the 232 people who died in the 1916 Easter Week Rising and who were interred in Glasnevin Cemetery.  131 were buried in a mass grave on the site chosen for this chapel in the St. Paul’s cemetery area of Glasnevin Cemetery, while the remainder were interred in family graves throughout the cemetery.

The competition was organised by the RIAI on behalf of the Glasnevin Trust, part the non-denominational Dublin Cemeteries Committee, the body which administers Glasnevin Cemetery. It is planned to have the project completed for, and officially opened, during the Easter 2016 Centenary celebrations.

Speaking at the announcement of the winners, Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said: “Architecture is an important and enduring reflection of our society. I welcome the sustained commitment of Glasnevin Trust to ensure that their developments are characterised by high quality architecture. I look forward to seeing the 1916 Centenary Chapel project develop and progress over the coming months.”

The Judging Panel’s Citation on the winning entry stated: “This project imaginatively created a unique sense of place which is simultaneously one of peaceful contemplation, commemoration and celebration. The design strongly reinforces the notion that all religions, and all humanity, have in common a love of and affinity with nature. This has been achieved by the clever exploitation of sunlight and daylight, rich and complex inside/outside relationships and a sensitive use of materials. The response to natural phenomena and landscape together create a fitting tribute to the citizens of Dublin who perished in the 1916 Easter Rising.”

Commenting on the competition John Green, Chairman of Glasnevin Trust, said: “In collaborating with the RIAI our ambition was that this architectural competition would produce a striking memorial to those people who lost their lives in the 1916 Easter Rising and were buried in Glasnevin, while creating a spiritual, contemplative and peaceful space in modern times for those who come to mourn and grieve for the recently deceased. The result, from our perspective, has been spectacularly successful, not just in the winner it has produced, but in the breadth and creativity of all entrants. Truly this process has already shown tremendous respect to those people whom we set out to commemorate.”

Robin Mandal, President RIAI, congratulated the winners and runners up, and thanked all of the practices that entered this important competition.  Mr. Mandal also thanked Glasnevin Trust for having an architectural competition, he said: “It is important to have clients who are committed to quality and to giving the time to ensure they get the best architecture for their project.” Mr Mandal also commented on the importance of architectural competitions in showing the quality and diversity of architectural talent in Ireland. He commented: “The competition exhibition illustrates how in architecture one question can generate 129 unique responses, and that architectural competitions are a testament to the research and innovation architects engage in on a daily basis; exploring and creating new unique solutions to meet the requirements of the client, the environment and working to ensure that our buildings stand the tests of time”.

Glasnevin Trust has decided, in recognition of the international aspect, size and quality of the responses, to make four additional premiated awards: one second place and three highly commended entries.


Second Place: David Jameson, MRIAI; Paul Fox, MRIAI; Rose Bonner, MRIAI



Highly Commended:

Cian Deegan, MRIAI; Alice Casey, TAKA, Dublin



Ralph Bingham, MRIAI, MOLA Architecture, Dublin



Andrew Weston, RIBA, Weston Williamson + Partners, London



Winner: O’Daly Architects

An exhibition of the Glasnevin 1916 Centenary Chapel competition – winner, shortlist and all 128 entries – is now open in the RIAI Mon-Fri, 9.30-17h.

Speaking on behalf of O’Daly Architects, Emer O’Daly, said: “The design for the Glasnevin 1916 Centenary Chapel creates a series of calming and contemplative spaces that are embedded in nature.  A garden of water pools and trees is formed around which the visitor journeys from walkway to memorial to Chapel space.  The interior of the Chapel is a play of light, water and stone, creating a space of transition from dark to light.”

The competition, launched last September, attracted 129 entries of a remarkably high standard, from architects throughout the world. The promoters and judging panel were extremely impressed by the quality of the premiated schemes selected following a rigorous assessment process. The winning entry receives an award of €10,000.

The building cost of the project is estimated at between €3.0 and €3.5 million and will be funded partially by the Dublin Cemeteries Committee. In addition Government Funding is being sought and the committee has commenced fund raising activities through philanthropic sources.

The Judging Panel was made up of:

Des McMahon, (Chairperson), Gilroy McMahon Architects
Paddy Fletcher, A&D Wejchert Architects
John Green, Chairman, Glasnevin Trust
John Watson, Board Member, Glasnevin Trust
George McCullough, Chief Executive, Glasnevin Trust

O’Daly Architects

O’Daly Architects was founded in 1989 by Tony O’Daly and Geraldine Byrne O’Daly.  Both had worked in the Office of Public Works on a wide variety of projects, from the design of new Government offices, the renovation of the National Concert Hall, design of new schools, office fit-outs and conservation and restoration of on-going works at Muckross House Killarney, Derrynane Abbey and Kilkenny Castle.

The practice has worked on new housing design, residential refurbishment, office fit-outs and the conservation and restoration of protected structures. Geraldine completed the conservation induction module in 2003 and a Masters in Architectural Science degree in 2007.

Two daughters, Emer and Kate, studied architecture in UCD. Both graduated with honours degrees – Emer in 2004 and Kate in 2006. Kate completed her Part 3 exams in 2010 and subsequently worked for several practices including Grafton Architects.  After graduating from UCD, Emer worked for 5 years with Heneghan Peng and then went to Yale University in the US to study for a Masters degree in Architecture, graduating in 2011. In 2012, she won first prize in an Architectural competition to design a railway terminal in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Glasnevin Trust

Glasnevin Trust is the largest provider of funeral services in Ireland serving 2,500 burials and 1,300 cremations annually, with the level of cremations expected to rise from the current approximate 50% of burials to some 70% in the coming 5 years.  The Trust is run by an executive management team and governed by the Dublin Cemeteries Committee, a voluntary not-for-profit body originally established by Daniel O’Connell in 1828.

The Trust’s mission today remains as it was handed down from Daniel O’Connell; “to bury people of all religions and none.”
It operates five cemeteries (Dardistown, Glasnevin, Goldenbridge, Newlands Cross and Palmerstown) and two crematoria (Glasnevin and Newlands Cross).

Glasnevin Cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery was established in 1832 under the direction of Daniel O’Connell.  The cemetery encompasses 124 acres and 1.5 million burials.  Glasnevin has major national heritage, through the social and historical history of the people buried there from all walks of life over 178 years.

Glasnevin Museum

The multi-award winning Glasnevin Museum, operated by Glasnevin Trust, was opened in April 2010.  The self-funded €11 million museum showcases the social, historical, political and artistic development of modern Ireland through the lives of the 1.5 million people buried in Glasnevin Cemetery – Ireland’s national necropolis.
The three storey museum hosts three main feature exhibits and a restaurant:
• The City of the Dead – an immersive exhibition in the basement of the museum.  It covers the burial practices and religious beliefs, as well as the meticulous record-keeping, of the 1.5 million people buried in Glasnevin.
• The Milestone Gallery houses a succession of special exhibitions on key historical figures, starting with Glasnevin’s founder Daniel O’Connell.  It also houses ‘the Timeline’ – a 10 metre long digitally interactive table containing details of the lives and relationships of hundreds of the most famous people buried there.
• The glazed Prospect Gallery offers periodic historical exhibitions over a panoramic view of the cemetery, along with information on its marvellous array of funerary monuments and historic graves.
• A 70 seat restaurant:


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