Ireland’s once tallest building to be recognised

Cork County Hall to have exhibition and commemorative plaque

It was Ireland's tallest building for years, much to the satisfaction of Corkonians everywhere, and now Cork County Hall's status is to be recognised with the unveiling of a plaque to mark its 50-year existence on the banks of the Lee.

Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Declan Hurley will unveil the plaque on Monday, recording that Cork County Hall, at the time of its completion on April 16th, 1968, was the tallest building in the country and remained so for four decades.

Designed by the then Cork county architect, Patrick McSweeney, the 16-storey building, some 64.3 metres high, superseded Dublin’s Liberty Hall. The Dublin building opened in 1965 and had previously held the title with its 16 storeys standing some 59. 4 metres.

Mr Hurley said although it has since been taken over by another Cork building, the 17-storey high Elysian at 68 metres near Cork City Hall as the tallest building in the Republic, Cork County Hall on the Carrigrohane Straight retains a iconic status on Leeside.


"Cork County Hall has become synonymous with Cork. It is a landmark building and one which resonates strongly with the people of Cork and in addition to the unveiling of a plaque, Cork County Council is also hosting an exhibition telling the story of the building from inception to completion."

Six-storey extension

Now standing at 67 metres, following a €50 million re-development in 2006, which incorporated a six-storey extension on its eastern side and an extra storey with a glazed pavilion on the top floor, Cork County Hall continues to dominate the Cork skyline in a striking fashion, he added.

Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey said high rise was a striking architectural concept, which had not been attempted previously in Ireland in the 1960s, and the construction, which took three years, was notable for the fact that it did not require scaffolding.

“When it was completed in 1968, the design was a single, elegantly proportioned, vertical block with a textured surface of precast concrete tracery which formed a lattice work over the building and eliminated the need for scaffolding during construction,” he said.

He pointed out the impact the building – along with the iconic bronze sculpture by Oisín Kelly depicting two men admiring the finished project – had on the people of Cork as he recalled the words of his predecessor, Michael Conlon upon its completion.

“In 1968 at the official opening, then County Manager Michael Conlon noted this County Hall belonged to the people of Cork. It continues to belong to the people of Cork and will continue to be a building which delivers for the people of Cork,” he said.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times