Restoration of historic Boland’s Mill buildings begins

Houses, offices and apartments to be built in €150m scheme due for completion in 2018

The restoration of protected 19th century buildings, as part of the €150 million redevelopment of Boland's Mill, has started in Dublin's Docklands.

The buildings, which date from the 1830s and include grain storage and factory buildings, as well as houses, will be redeveloped as offices and apartments in a scheme due for completion in September 2018.

In addition to conserving the stone facades of the industrial buildings, as much of the original timber and iron work as possible will be retained and restored for use in the new development.

The facades were protected from the elements to an extent by the 20th century concrete silos which were constructed in the middle of the complex, but the warehouse interiors have fallen into dereliction since the factory closed 15 years ago.



“The lead was removed from the roof which allowed water ingress and this would have caused a lot of problems, particularly rotting of the timbers and, in parts, water damage has led to the collapse of floors and staircases,” Neil Donnellan of David Slattery Conservation Architects said.

In addition, he said, the buildings have been altered significantly over the last 150 years, as new industrial processes changed the way the mill was used. “It would not be unusual for buildings on an industrial site such as this to be adapted to suit a new manufacturing process at some time in the past. They’re not set pieces, but the changes made over the years are part of the interest of these buildings.”

As well as old factory buildings, the site has a pair of Regency houses facing on to Barrow Street, dating from before 1838. These were thought to have originally been used by company directors and their families, but during the 20th century were converted into offices.

While the site has a distinct place in the industrial heritage of Dublin, it does not have the distinguished place in Irish political history that many people assume, Niall Kerney of BKD, architects for the new development, explains.

Mixed use

“Boland’s had their flour mill here but they had a biscuit factory down on Grand Canal street, where the Nama head offices are now, and that is the location from where the IRA contingent were able to ambush the British army coming in from Beggars Bush. Some people think, because it’s Boland’s, that this is where something happened in 1916 but it took no part in the Rising.”

The new Nama-backed development, to be called Boland’s Quay, will include 30,000sq m of office space for about 2,300 people, 42 apartments, shops, cafes, restaurants and an exhibition building. New streets and squares will also be created as part of the development.

The tallest building will be 14 storeys and 53m high. A 15-storey apartment block is also planned, but it will be lower, at 47.8m.

The third new building, also an office block, will be 13 storeys and up to 49m.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times