John Skipton Mulvany (1813-1870)

John Skipton Mulvany (1813-1870) was the son of Thomas J. Mulvany – a friend and biographer of James Gandon. For an architectural education, he was articled to William Deane Butler and was later appointed architect to the Dublin and Kingstown Railway for which he designed stations along the route. He was also the architect to the Midland Great Western Railway for which he designed the terminus hotel and station at Galway and a station at Athlone (now derelict). His outstanding work is the terminus of the Midland Great Western at Broadstone in Dublin. This great structure with its egyptian and greek themes stands at a high point in the city. Now used as a bus garage, the station’s great platform shed still has the power and presence to impress. The original shed roof was designed by Richard Turner but was a little too optimistic in its engineering and had to be replaced when it collapsed in 1851. He was also runner-up in the competition to design Kingsbridge (Heuston) Station. As well as railway stations he also designed two yacht clubs in Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire).

His obituary from The Irish Builder, “THE intelligence of the above gentleman’s recent demise at the comparatively early age of fifty-seven, and after a brief but severe illness, has been communicated to us, and we have no doubt that the event will be regarded as a loss to the architectural profession, of which the deceased was for many years a distinguished member. Mr. Mulvany was a pupil of the late William Deane Butler, and son of the late Thomas J. Mulvany, R.H.A., an eminent artist, whose other sons, William, George, Richard, and Thomas were likewise eminent in their respective spheres of art and science, and, with the exception of George (late director of the National Gallery), still survive. At a very early age Mr. John S. Mulvany was taken by the hand by some of the first nobility and commercial men in Ireland, and became architect to the Dublin and Kingstown and Midland Great Western Railways, to the city prisons, several clubs, the Mullingar Lunatic Asylum, and a host of private individuals for whom princely mansions were erected from his designs. Mr. Mulvany’s forte was unmistakeably Classic Architecture; he was a great admirer of the late Mr. Gandon, of whom his father was the bosom friend and biographer. The Broadstone, Galway, and Kingstown Termini, and the Royal Irish Yacht Club-house at Kingstown, are samples of his ability; and it might have been well had he not ambitioned other less orthodox styles of architecture. During late years Mr. Mulvany was extensively engaged as a railway valuator and arbitrator, and was one of the promoters of the Dublin Trunk Connecting line, as well being architect to the company. Amongst his several pupils are Messrs. J. C. Campbell, W. R. Farrell, J. J. Lyons, Thomas Mannin, &c.; and for a lengthened period the efficient services of the late talented Raffles Brown were secured by Mr. Mulvany.”