Re: Re: has the architecture of northern ireland differed from the republic since partition?

Home Forums Ireland has the architecture of northern ireland differed from the republic since partition? Re: Re: has the architecture of northern ireland differed from the republic since partition?


Not sure that architecture has differed much since partition, certainly not in recent times. One off bungalows look the same on both sides of the border. Office developments, shopping centres and business parks don’t seem to differ that much either. All categories seem to have changed in style with the passing decades but that evolution in design seems to have been matched on each side of the border. Where there is possibly a difference is in the greater use of undressed stone in some projects in the Republic. I’ve always wondered if this is an attempt to integrate something Celtic, ancient and distinctly Irish into otherwise nondescript developments. This seems less common in NI and could be the result of a different political/historical perspective. I have to say I hate the stone finish in many urban settings – it often looks completely out of place, like a dry stone wall from western Ireland in the middle of a city. It seems such a contrived attempt at what I’d call diddly dee Irishness – why don’t they throw in a statue of a leprachun for good measure? This exception aside though there doesn’t seem to be much variation.

Where you’re more likely to find differences is probably prior to partition. Much of historic Dublin is Georgian, as too is Limerick, however, you won’t find any Georgian architecture in Belfast as the city didn’t really exist in the 18th century. Belfast’s older parts are almost all Victorian and Ewardian(?) – the Northeast went through an industrial boom during the 19th and early 20th century while the rest of the island lagged behind and remained more agrarian. The result was a glut of urban development in Belfast as the city grew from nothing into Ireland’s largest city. In contrast there seems to be much less Victorian architecture in Dublin, Cork etc. probably due to a different economic climate.

One modern day difference in terms of development is probably not so much in architectural style but in settlement patterns and planning policy. Although lax by UK standards NI’s planning policy seems to be considerably more rigid than the Republic’s. Green belts surround most large urban settlements up here whereas cities and towns in the Republic have a much more sprawling form of development. Another difference exists in the rate of one-off house construction. This has gone on at a much higher level for longer down south than in the north. Add this to more ribbon development along roads leading out of towns in the Republic and the demarcation line between urban and rural has become a lot more blurred than in NI. This suburbanisation of the countryside will probably continue at pace in the former due to the current FF government’s committment to one-off housing. In contrast new planning restrictions have been introduced on rural development in NI by Lord Rooker so a few decades hence and there might be considerable difference in appearance between the two parts of Ireland.

Latest News