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54 George's Street Lower
Dublin, County Dublin,

01 5585205

Award Wining Architects based in Monkstown, Co.Dublin and working in all surrounding counties.

Specialising in sensitive contemporary design for domestic extensions, renovations, new-build houses and interior design.  We also design and build custom joinery.

RIAI registered architects, project managers & interior designers

Dublin Architecture Blog

Hofler Architects Dublin  - Our Blog of our news and views.

Filtering by Tag: Repair


Paul Mulhern


Traditional long, narrow, single-storey farm buildings on the slopes of Knocknafreaghaun. Image via

Traditional long, narrow, single-storey farm buildings on the slopes of Knocknafreaghaun. Image via

A publication by the Heritage Council.

"Built by local builders, or the farmer himself, of readily available local materials and are truly vernacular architecture – We might even say that farm buildings of this type were sustainable before the concept was even considered".

A farm building reuse project we are working on in Carlow.

A farm building reuse project we are working on in Carlow.


The current focus on rural development provides an opportunity to see old farm buildings as an asset in finding alternative income for farm families.  A range of small-scale uses for old buildings may be possible without substantial alteration.

  • Unoccupied houses in working farmyards may be inhabited by a member of the family rather than converted to agricultural use
  • Old farmyards can be converted for craft workshops or tourism and self-catering; this may be especially viable in suburban areas or close to tourist or walking routes
  • Small-scale manufacturing industry, such as cheese- making, small-scale engineering, furniture making, and car maintenance offer other possible uses
  • Extending dwelling houses by incorporating adjoining farm buildings is sometimes possible without undue removal of cross walls and other elements of the buildings
  • Use of converted outbuildings for dwellings, holiday and self-catering accommodation may be permitted by the planning authority depending on the policies in the development plan.

Guidelines for the Repair and Maintenance of Traditional Buildings and Farmyards:

Ballinacarrig Farm Proposals, Carlow  - Hofler Architects

Ballinacarrig Farm Proposals, Carlow  - Hofler Architects

Consult your local authority conservation officer for advice on the repair of ‘listed’ farm buildings (those included in the RPS) and any grant aid available for such work.

Continue to use old farm buildings where possible

Avoid ‘gutting’ old buildings as this erases much of their historic value

Carefully site new buildings so as to avoid damaging an old yard

When repairing old farm buildings, like for like should apply.  Therefore similar materials to those used historically should be employed. These include stone, lime plaster and lime mortar, clay/mud, thatch, stone slates or flags, corrugated iron (round profile)

  • Retain old roof structures – these are all too easily lost during re-roofing
  • Retain old windows and doors
  • Protect buildings from fire by ensuring that electrical installation is to modern standards
  • Keep all stone walls in good repair, using stone similar to that in the wall if it needs to be repaired, and lime mortar with flush or recessed finish. On older buildings, it is generally not a good idea to use cement-based mortar or render to repair or plug gaps in old walls
  •  Retain cobbled floors and yard surfaces where these survive
  • Maintain and repair old timber and iron gates along with their piers and flanking walls
  • Keep old farm machinery under cover to protect it from the elements
  • Use traditional colour schemes and roof forms to help new buildings fit more easily into the overall complex
  • Keep corrugated iron roofs and claddings in good order by painting with appropriate paints
  • Keep a good source of water close by for dealing with fire
  • Keep all wells and springs free of pollutants 

Download the Heritage Council publication "Traditional Buildings on Irish Farms"

National Rural Network - "Conservation of Old Farm Buildings" - Ireland

Contact Hofler Architects to discuss conservation and alternative uses for your farm buildings here - Hofler Architects

Read about the Rock Farm Straw Bale Project here

What is an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA)?

Paul Mulhern

Under the Planning and Development Act 2000-2010, a planning authority must include an objective in its development plan to preserve the character of a place, area, group of structures or townscape if it is of the opinion that its inclusion is necessary for the preservation of the character of that area.  Such an area is known as an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) and it is defined as a place, area, group of structures or townscape that is of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest or contributes to the appreciation of protected structures. 

Reasons for Designating an ACA

An ACA is designated in recognition of the special character of an area where individual elements such as building heights, building lines, roof lines, materials, construction systems, designed landscapes, public spaces and architectural features combine to give a place a harmonious, distinctive and special quality which merits protection.

Protecting the special character of such areas is important as this serves to reinforce the identity of areas, local towns and villages, recognises our cultural and architectural heritage and contributes to the attractiveness of these areas as places in which to live and work. From an economic perspective, Ireland’s heritage is a key element of the tourism experience. It draws visitors here and is a significant part of what they enjoy once they are here.

In acknowledging the architectural and historic significance of our towns and villages throughout the county by designating Architectural Conservation Areas, the primary aim is to provide for change while protecting character. In this way it is accepted that Architectural Conservation Areas are not open-air museums but living communities that will inevitably continue to develop and change.

The aim of the planning process in managing development within ACAs is therefore to focus on ensuring that future development is carried out in a manner sympathetic to the special character of that area.This is achieved by giving particular consideration to the impact of proposed development on the character of the ACA, in order to achieve a balance between the need for change and the objective of retaining the special qualities for which the area was designated. 

Bessborough Parade, Rathmines, Dublin 6 - We have completed two extension & refurbishment projects to protected structures on the street

Bessborough Parade, Rathmines, Dublin 6 - We have completed two extension & refurbishment projects to protected structures on the street

What needs planning permission?

The protection of an ACA relates to the external appearance.

As an ACA includes the rear of buildings and the open spaces most works to the outside of a building or structure in an ACA will need planning permission.

If, for example you proposed to build a small extension, change the roof materials or windows, install a roof-light or satellite dish, form a parking space, strip off plaster, or erect signage you will probably need permission.

Planning permission will not be needed for works to the interior unless it involves a change of use.  Normal repair and maintenance work will not require permission, unless it uses materials or details which are not appropriate to the structure. For the avoidance of doubt, detailed advice can be obtained from the Planning Authority in relation to details, methods and materials in advance of work starting.

Links to PDF guidance documents:

Contact us with any queries:  SPACIOUS Architects, DUN LAOGHAIRE, Co. Dublin

Conserving Your Dublin Period House

Paul Mulhern

There are still four lunchtime lectures left in May as well as the Architectural Walking Tour.

The Irish Georgian Society and Dublin City Council have assembled a team of conservation experts to present a series of talks on the history and significance of Dublin’s period houses and practical advice on their conservation.  Attendance at the talks will greatly benefit owners of all periods and types of houses, from the modest Edwardian artisan dwelling to the substantial red bricks of the Victorian suburbs and the fine townhouses of our Georgian city squares, providing an A to Z for their care and repair

Talks, which will commence on Tuesday 4th March 2013 (1pm to 2pm) and continue for 12 weeks, will take place in the Octagonal Room, CAH, 58 South William Street, Dublin 2. 

The talks and accompanying walking tour are individually priced at €10 (€5 students), however advanced booking for all is at a special discounted rate of €110 euro (€55 for fulltime students with cards). Full time students pay at the door, student card must be presented. To reserve your place call 01 679 8675.

Walking Tour, 11am Saturday 12th April (duration 1 ½ hrs): Dr Susan Galavan, MRIAI, will lead a walking tour examining the architectural form, style and detailing of Northumberland Road, D2.  Built over the course of six decades in the 19th century its buildings which vary from tall red-brick terraces to fine semi-detached houses provide an exemplar of the development of Dublin’s Victorian domestic architecture. 

For full details download the brochure