2007 – Centre of Contemporary Irish Culture, Kenmare, Co. Kerry

Architect: Niall McLaughlin Architects


First unveiled in 2007, it was never clear where the funding for this vaguely titled centre was to come from. The steering committee behind the project claimed it would celebrate achievements in modern Irish art and culture. They described it in glowing terms, “The vision of this project is to provide the region with a unique visitor attraction and social facility of world class interest that perfectly addresses the challenges facing tourism.” It was estimated to cost in the region of 40 to 50 million euro, and was to include a 1,000 seat theatre. The local committee hoped the centre would be open by 2012.

The architects described it as “expressing something of the concealed history of the landscape in its form and materiality. For the design we studied the local topography, climate, economic and social history and the natural order of flora and fauna. We understood that the particular geology of the site has allowed a local culture to emerge and this has, in turn, shaped the wider natural landscape. By being rooted in its own situation, the building can be read as a microcosm of the whole landscape.”