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Páirc Uí Chaoimh refit takes top honour at engineering awards

Excellence awards showcase contribution of engineering profession to society

The Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards, held in association with the ESB, are presented in recognition of the achievements of engineers who have demonstrated exceptional engineering skills through their work. Now in their eighth year the awards showcase and celebrate the invaluable contribution the engineering profession makes to society.

The redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh was voted best national engineering project of 2017 while Capt Eoghan Carton won the prestigious Chartered Engineer of the Year award for his project on combat engineering at this year's awards, which took place at Dublin's Intercontinental Hotel on November 10th.

"The awards give us the opportunity to applaud the achievements of our engineering profession in Ireland and Irish engineers at home and abroad," said Engineers Ireland president Dr Kieran Feighan.

He added: “On behalf of Engineers Ireland, congratulations to all who have been shortlisted or nominated for awards, both individuals and organisations. In being nominated, you are already successful, and we certainly appreciate the time and work involved in entering the awards. In reality, the engineering profession, and the society that we serve, are the big winners from your professionalism and creativity.”


Multipurpose venue

The flagship Engineering Project of the Year category is sponsored by Transport Infrastructure Ireland and is voted for by a panel of judges and the public. The regeneration of the Páirc Uí Chaoimh, home of Cork city and county GAA activities since it was established in 1898, has resulted in a multipurpose floodlit bowl-shaped venue that can accommodate a capacity of 45,300 and up to 47,000 for games and concerts respectively, including 21,300 seats.

It also includes a second 4G playing pitch and multipurpose usage of space to cater for different activities on match and non-match days to support income generation. The project, supported by its owner Cork County GAA Board and by Cork City Council, was undertaken by Malachy Walsh and Partners.

“Páirc Uí Chaoimh is a long-established sports ground with a unique heritage, but by 2013 it was clear it required extensive redevelopment if it was to continue as a venue for major games and concerts”, said Séamus Kelly managing director, Malachy Walsh and Partners.

“The work we have undertaken with our partners over the last few years has been a huge endeavour, but one that has culminated in a modern facility that has the capacity to host multiple forms of revenue-generating activities to support the region.

“Now an impressive state-of-the-art facility situated on the banks of the river Lee, it is set to provide a wonderful player and spectator experience for many years to come and we are thrilled to have the project recognised by the public and the Engineers Ireland judges.”

Outstanding contribution

Prof John Kelly, former dean of the faculty of engineering at UCD was presented with the ESB Outstanding Contribution to Engineering award. "I am greatly honoured to be given this award, and after some 40years spent in the academic world concerned mainly with the education of engineers, I recognise that this honour is due not only to me but also to the many colleagues and students in UCD and in the international universities with whom I have had the pleasure to work with throughout my career as a professor of chemical engineering," he said.

Engineering education was also emphasised by ESB chief executive Pat O’Doherty, who added: “It is vital Ireland has a ready supply of engineering skills to support vital infrastructural development across areas such as transport, education, sports, health, water, energy and the digital economy amongst others. That’s why the continuing promotion of engineering as a career choice is fundamental to meeting Ireland’s long-term needs as an economy and society.

“This year’s awards showcase projects and initiatives that exhibit great expertise in a diversity of areas and represent the ingenuity and vibrancy that is the hallmark of modern Irish engineering – and I applaud them all.”

Innovative student

The next generation of engineers was celebrated in the Innovative Student of the Year award, which was won by Aron Purser, a third-year student of mechanical engineering at IT Carlow. His project, the forklift "Bucket Bagger", is designed to meet the requirements of the agricultural and construction sector. Having found that no such device was available on the market Aron designed the Bucket Bagger as an attachment which for the front of a forklift which can fill bulk bags.

"This year's awards once again showcase and celebrate the invaluable contribution the engineering profession makes to society," said Engineers Ireland director-general Caroline Spillane. "Engineering is at the heart of community and culture in Ireland and, on behalf of Engineers Ireland, I offer congratulations to each winner and shortlisted entrant, as the projects involved all highlight the innovation and quality of work that is continuously produced by Irish engineers both at home and abroad."

In other award categories, Capt Eoghan Carton won the prestigious Chartered Engineer of the Year award for his work relating to the changeover of combat engineering, infrastructure and utilities from Finland to Ireland as part of UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon).

The Local Authority Engineering Initiative award was won jointly by the Dublin City Council and the Office of Public Works for the south campshire flood protection project in Dublin, and by Limerick City and County Council for its smarter travel scheme promoting walking and cycling as alternative modes of transport.

Aidan Madden received the International Engineer of the Year award for his work in Bangladesh, Murt Coleman won the president's award, NUI Galway Prof William Gerard Hurley won the Best Presentation award for his "challenges and trends in magnetics for power electronics" project, while the National Gallery of Ireland historical wings restoration and refurbishment project by Punch Consulting won the Heritage and Conservation award.

Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards Finalists 2017

President's award, sponsored by CRH: Murt Coleman, chartered engineer FIEI.

Innovative Student Engineer of the Year award, sponsored by Siemens: Aron Purser, IT Carlow for his project, the forklift Bucket Bagger.

Best Presentation award, sponsored by Beale & Company and Griffiths & Armour: Challenges and Trends in Magnetics for Power Electronics, presented by Prof William Gerard Hurley, chartered engineer, professor of electrical engineering at NUI Galway and director of the power electronics research. Nominated by: the Cork region.


Project Change Management – Challenges and Opportunities, presented by Karen Fenton (RIP), programme manager, RPS. Nominated by: the project management society.

Structural design and construction at the Dublin Waste to Energy Facility, presented by John Diffley, senior structural engineer, PM Group, and Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Senior Construction Manager, PM Group. Nominated by: the structures and construction division.

Geoscience Ireland award, sponsored by Geoscience Ireland: UMASW by Apex Geoservices Ltd and UCD school of civil engineering.


Duke’s Road CSO material reuse strategy by Cleantech Group.

Heritage and Conservation award, sponsored by the Office of Public Works: National Gallery of Ireland historical wings restoration and refurbishment project by Punch Consulting Engineers.


14 Henrietta Street – the Tenement Museum Dublin by Arup and Shaffrey Architects.

GPO: Witness History Exhibition Centre, O’Connell Street, Dublin by Hendrick Ryan + Associates.

St Mary’s Hall, Kilkenny by O’Connor Sutton Cronin.

Local Authority Engineering Initiative award, sponsored by Cold Chon (Galway) Ltd: South campshire flood protection project by Dublin City Council and the Office of Public Works; and Limerick smarter travel route 2 shared walking and cycling facility by Limerick City and County Council, WSP/Punch Consulting (JV) and John Cradock Ltd.


The Engineers Role in Realising Clare’s Rural Potential by Clare County Council.

Fabric upgrade programme phase one by Cork City Council .

Engineering Education award – best in class 2017: Creating Holistic Engineers to Solve the Grand Challenges of the Future Organisation by the college of engineering and built environment, Dublin Institute of Technology.


Innovative and new-product multidisciplinary laboratories development by the department of mechanical, biomedical and manufacturing engineering and department of management and enterprise, Cork Institute of Technology.

Innovation in Engineering Education and Outreach by UCD school of civil engineering.

Civil @ UL: Learning Actively, Engaging Creatively by the civil engineering programme, University of Limerick.

Outstanding Contribution to Engineering award, sponsored by the ESB: Prof John Kelly, chartered engineer FIEI.

International Engineer of the Year award, sponsored by ESB International: Aidan Madden, chartered engineer MIEI, structural engineer, Arup.

Chartered Engineer of the Year award, sponsored by Arup: Capt Eoghan Carto. Project title: Lead Nation Changeover 2016: the Changeover of Combat Engineering, Infrastructure and Utilities Support from Finland to Ireland in UNIFIL.


Dr Christopher Anderson. Project title: Deep Soil Mixing – Engineering Ground for a Sustainable Future.

Dr Breiffni Fitzgerald. Project title: Structural Control for Improved Energy Efficiency and Reliability of Next-Generation Wind Turbines.

Gearóid FitzGerald. Project title: Electricity Management for Irish Water.

Claire Mulholland. Project title: Great Island 220 kV substation.

Eoghan Tuite. Project title: Celtic Interconnector.

Technical Innovation of the Year award, sponsored by NSAI: Development of SolarWhite, a new coating for high performance satellite thermal control by Enbio Ltd and UCD school of mechanical and materials engineering.


Power Off and Save by EirGrid and Electric Ireland.

The Coolx600 by Excelsys Technologies.

Design, Validation and Commercialisation of a Variable-Speed Draught Beer Cooler Control System by Kilkenny Cooling Systems.

Continuing Professional Development Employer of the Year award, supported by the Department of Education and Skills and sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland: Johnson & Johnson Campus Ireland.


Abbott Ireland.

Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions.

Engineering Project of the Year award, sponsored by Transport Infrastructure Ireland: Redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Centre of Excellence, Cork, by Malachy Walsh and Partners.


Connswater Community Greenway by Belfast City Council, Arup and Farrans Construction.

Children’s cardiac catheterisation unit and orthopaedic theatre at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin by Clancy, RPS, Casey O’Rourke Associates and MOLA Architecture.

Global Engineering at Depth – Aran Islands Subsea Cable Repair by ESB International and ESB Networks

Detailed design of Luas Cross-City infrastructure project by O’Connor Sutton Cronin.

National Gallery of Ireland historical wings restoration and refurbishment by Punch Consulting Engineers and BDP M&E Engineering.

Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena by Tobin Consulting Engineers.

Barry McCall

Barry McCall is a contributor to The Irish Times