Southern Star Ltd. logo
Premium Exclusives

Architect’s book traces five decades of iconic library that opened in 70s

May 27th, 2024 9:00 AM

Architect’s book traces five decades of iconic library  that opened in 70s Image
The building has recently undergone renovation works. (Photo: Brian Lougheed)

Share this article

A NEW book has been launched which traces the history of Bantry Library to coincide with the building’s 50th anniversary.

Bantry Library first opened to the public in 1974 and is of considerable historical significance from a town and architectural perspective.

‘Bantry Library: Bantry’s Brutalist Bibliotheque’, a publication by Bantry native and conservation architect Dermot Harrington, was launched in the library last week.

The library is described as a stunning example of ‘brutalist’ architecture, a style that emerged during the 1950s with an emphasis on materials, textures and construction, producing highly expressive forms.

The publication explores the conception and construction of one of Ireland’s finest examples of modern architecture and captures the sense of socio-economic and cultural change experienced in Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s.

Capturing a sense of that radical time and the arrival of a brutalist, space-age megalith to West Cork, Dermot’s story of Bantry Library is presented with original drawings, models and images of its construction.

County mayor Cllr Frank O’Flynn spoke of the importance of the library and said the community of Bantry benefits hugely from the local library – ‘a magnificent building that still catches the eye 50 years later’.

‘Whether it is through hosting events such as Lego clubs and story time for kids, or hosting numerous local groups and events, Bantry Library provides an important hub for the community,’ he added, congratulating Dermot Harrington on what he described as a ‘wonderful book which gives us a special insight into the history of this iconic building’.

The status of Bantry Library as a unique example of modern architecture in Ireland has recently been recognised with conservation works to the value of €500,000 being carried out to refurbish some of the major elements of the building, including conservation and replacement of the windows and roof.

The project was undertaken by Cork County Council architects in conjunction with Dermot Harrington, Cook Architects and after a grant of €250,000 was received from The Heritage Council.

Chief executive of Cork County Council, Valerie O’Sullivan said she was delighted to see the completion of the restoration works of the great building, ensuring that it remains a vital part of the local community for future generations.

‘Dermot’s book explores the history of this great building from the initial thought process to the cherished building that stands today.

I’ve no doubt it will serve the community of Bantry for many years to come,’ said Ms O’Sullivan.

‘Bantry Library: Bantry’s Brutalist Bibliotheque’ is available locally and via the RIAI bookshop in Dublin.

The book will also be available via the publishers Gandon Editions in Kinsale, and is supported by Cork County Council, the Murnane & O’Shea Group, MTU, RIAI and the Irish Concrete Federation.

Tags used in this article

Share this article

Related content