Historic Medieval Derelict Site in Galway City Centre is Sensitively Restored

Client: Aran Sweater Market

In March 2016 ACP were commissioned by the new owner of the derelict building (part medieval and part 19th century) to design a commercial outlet within the restored building, obtain planning permission and procure the works. The ruinous building had been derelict for over 10 years and was an eyesore at this important part of Galway City Centre, beside the Spanish Arch.

No 25 Quay Street & No. 2- No. 5 Quay Lane Galway Ireland

In March 2016 ACP were commissioned by the new owner of the derelict building (part medieval and part 19th century) to design a commercial outlet within the restored building, obtain planning permission and procure the works. The ruinous building had been derelict for over 10 years and was an eyesore at this important part of Galway City Centre, beside the Spanish Arch.

The ACP project team undertook detailed research on the building, and working closely with the owner and Galway City Council, National Monuments Service and the Department of Culture Heritage and Gaeltacht prepared a design that was sympathetic to the historic fabric and archaeology of the site and lodged a planning application which was approved and granted in May 2017.

The project team prepared tender documents and went out to tender for the works. Works commenced onsite in August 2017 and Aran Sweater Market opened its doors to the public on the 6th of July 2018.

Design Challenges:-

  • Integrating a medieval building and a 19th century building into the one retail space – Cruck style roof trusses to match the medieval structure and 19th century King Post style trusses were used.
  • Medieval style windows were inserted into No.25 Quay Lane based upon archaeological evidence found during excavations. Five panel doors were inserted in keeping with the 19th century element of the site and traditional timber oak doors were used in the medieval part of the building. A new door was inserted into the facade of No. 25 with a cut stone hood-mould design, based on an existing hood moulding on the building.
  • Archaeology – during excavations the original shore line and the foundations of Caislean Na Gaillimhe were found within the building and these were recorded, preserved in situ and a section is left exposed under a glass floor.
  • Supporting the roof – the original walls were not capable of carrying a new roof and floors due to their age and condition. A new concrete frame structure was designed to carry the roof and floors independent of the walls. This allowed for greater flexibility in designing the internal spatial layout.
  • Repairing the stone/brick fabric – the walls were severely damaged and repaired using inappropriate materials such as concrete over the years. This presented a challenge to remove the modern materials and stabilise the original fabric. The sections of medieval door surrounds and window mullions /transoms that were found during the works presented a unique challenge to understand their importance, and to agree with the authorities which style should be used in the restoration.

ACP would like to wish Aran Sweater Market the very best on their new venture and thank the entire design team, contractors, staff of Galway City Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, on their hard work and dedication in bringing this wonderful complex of buildings back into a new economic use.