Impending demolition of one of Cork’s major modernist buildings

Sign the petition here

University College Cork have lodged a planning application to demolish one of Cork’s last great examples of mid-century industrial heritage. It was completed in 1964 by Cork architect Frank Murphy, active mainly in the 1950s and 1960s, whose works included a number of modernist structures. Frank Murphy B.Arch FRIAI RIBA(1916–1993) was an acclaimed Irish architect who utilised modern design principles to bring this style of architecture to Cork in the middle of the 20th Century.

The Cork Distillers Bottling plant (Later Irish Distillers) has architectural details which are unique and unusual for a utilitarian building found in Cork City. Recognisable by its glossy bright yellow glazed brick and sculptural cast concrete, it originally bottled Paddy Whiskey and Cork Dry Gin on the North Mall, Cork City until 2007. The site faces the river Lee on a former island distillery.

This building formed a major part of the research for a body of work that I completed in 2019, titled Monuments of Abandoned Futures which focused mainly on Modernist and Brutalist structures in Cork City and County. There were not many to be found, as I was disappointed to discover at the time and so here I am today, appalled at the idea of losing this architectural treasure and appealing to the wider public to consider both its beauty and our heritage before allowing its destruction.

“The Building is currently not protected (despite publications, requests and several architectural Thesis’s on its conversion). In fact, Cork’s twentieth century architecture is scantly acknowledged or included in the Cork City Register of Protected Structures.”- from the petition text created by Conor English who also wrote the book: Cork’s Modern Architect: The Work of Frank Murphy

Las Venus III, 2019, Monuments of Abandoned Futures, Charcoal and Pastel on Fabriano, 150 x 180cm.
Polaroid 600 shot
Drawing study, 2019

How the building currently presents in April 2021. Vibrant yellow brickwork has survived the test of time.


Press Release, JUNCTURES: memory and the built environment, a drawing project.

JUNCTURES: memory and the built environment, a drawing project.

Castleisland Day Care Centre and Artist in Residence Ciara Rodgers present an exhibition of drawings

Area Services Centre, Station Road, Castleisland, Co. Kerry 

Opening event: 2.30 pm, Thursday 23rd January.

Exhibition continues until Thursday 13th February 2020

About the Project

A residency is when a professional artist is formally attached to a university, community centre, etc., to benefit both the artists development, and the locations’ exposure to the arts. Artist Ciara Rodgers spent seven weeks in October and November 2019 at Castleisland Day Care Centre, where she conducted research and created drawings with attendees.

The residency sparked discussion on local history and architecture with the older people while Ciara shared her experience of drawing. The period also included a group field trip to Hartnetts hotel to meet the owner, Jerome Hartnett. The group shared stories, memories and looked at archival material relating to the rich history of this building which has loomed over the town of Castleisland and remained with the same family for over 200 years. 

Participants in the project created drawings from selected historical buildings in the town and looked at the Divanes calendar series, commissioned by the local car dealership and the work of a local artist, Kathleen Shanahan for inspiration.

This project came together with generous support from Age and Opportunity, Bealtaine Festival, Creative Ireland and the attendees, staff and wider community of Castleisland Day Care Centre.

Ciara Rodgers (1982) is an artist living and working in Cork. She studied Fine Art at CIT Crawford College of Art and Design. Ciara’s studio practice includes charcoal drawing, polaroid photography and sculptural installation. She is interested in the relationship we have with the historic built environment and the values or lack thereof we impose on it.