Irish Architectural Archive

Coordinates: 53°20′19″N 6°14′49″W / 53.33867°N 6.246852°W / 53.33867; -6.246852
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Irish Architectural Archive
TypeNon-governmental organisation
PurposeArchiving of architectural materials
Headquarters45 Merrion Square, Dublin 2
Colum O’Riordan
Formerly called
National Trust Archive

The Irish Architectural Archive was established in 1976 by Dr Edward McParland and Nicholas Robinson as the National Trust Archive.[1] Its objective is to collect and preserve material of every kind relating to the architecture of Ireland, and make it available to the public. It is based at 45 Merrion Square, Dublin,[2][3] and is an independent private company with charitable status.[4] 45 Merrion Square, a Georgian building constructed in 1794, was restored between 2002 and 2004 for use as an archive by the Office of Public Works.[5][6]

The archive comprises over 3,500 individual acquisitions, ranging from single items - a book, pamphlet, drawing or photograph - to the thousands of drawings and files created by large architectural practices.

As of 2020, Colum O'Riordan was the director.[7]


Edward McParland and Nicholas Robinson founded the National Trust Archive in 1976, with Nick Sheaf appointed the first director, and premises at 63 Merrion Square.[1] Among the founding items in the collection were drawings “from the practice established in Ireland by Augustus Pugin in the late 1830s”.[1]

The organisation was formally designated national archive status in 1996, by Ruairi Quinn who was then minister of finance.[1]

Alistair Rowan was appointed director in 1981, and the organisation was renamed the Irish Architectural Archive and moved to number 73 Merrion Square.[1]

It moved on to the former home of Gustavus Hume at 45 Merrion Square in 2004.[1][8]


The IAA's collections represent the largest body of historic architectural records in Ireland.[citation needed] They include more than 250,000 architectural drawings, ranging in date from the late seventeenth to the twentieth centuries.[citation needed]

Also housed in the archive are over 400,000 photographs, making it one of the largest collections of photographs in Ireland.[citation needed] The archive also holds a reference library, with over 15,000 prints.[citation needed]

The IAA holds a collection of photographs and drawings, the Peter and Mary Doyle Collection, which was bequeathed by Irish modernist architects Peter and Mary Doyle.[9][10]


Exhibitions, held at the IAA, have included:

  • 3-13 March 2020, Exhibition for a Good Man, a solo exhibition by Irish artist Paula Pohli.[11]
  • 2019, A Visual Window to an Ecclesiastical World, of historical drawings of Church of Ireland buildings, curated by Dr Michael O’Neill FSA.[12]
  • 2018, Memorialising the Sacred, an installation exploring sacred buildings in Crete, curated by Anthony Kelly, Seán McCrum, Paddy Sammon and David Stalling.[13]
  • 2017, House and Home, an exhibition of drawings, publications, models and photographs of mid-18th century to late 20th-century Irish homes. The exhibition marked the 40th anniversary of the archive.[1]
  • 2016, ICC Speak, a collaboration with the Irish Composers’ Collective, featuring immersive installations and performances by: Anna Clifford and Veronica Szabo (Very Clock theatre company); Michelle O’Rourke; the Kirkos Ensemble (who performed work by Adam Bradley, Kevin Free and Robbie Blake); Tonnta Music (who performed compositions by Róisín Hayes and Shell Dooley).[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Dunne, Aidan. "Archives reveal recurrent nature of Ireland's housing crises". The Irish Times. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  2. ^ "The Discovery Service". Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  3. ^ "The Irish Architectural Archive". Visit Dublin.
  4. ^ "About". Irish Architectural Archive.
  5. ^ "Origins and Development". Irish Architectural Archive. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Irish Architectural Archive". Open House Dublin 2020. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Conservation Traditional Building Skills Register: The Irish Architectural Archive". Irish Georgian Society. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  8. ^ "Irish Architectural Archive, 44-45 Merrion Square (East), Dublin 2, DUBLIN". Buildings of Ireland. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  9. ^ "Masters of the home office: Modernist home of late architects Peter and Mary Doyle on the market". independent. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  10. ^ Boyd, Gary A.; McLaughlin, John (5 December 2016). Infrastructure and the Architectures of Modernity in Ireland 1916-2016. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-351-92749-9.
  11. ^ "Exhibition for a Good Man". Wall Street International. 25 January 2020. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  12. ^ Mac Donald, Sarah (7 May 2019). "Exhibition on Church of Ireland's historical architectural drawings". Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  13. ^ Mac Donald, Sarah (14 March 2018). "Dublin exhibition on the churches and wayside shrines of Crete". Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  14. ^ Caffrey, Shauna. "ICC Speak at the Irish Architectural Archive | Review | Live Review". GoldenPlec. Retrieved 16 November 2020.

External links[edit]

53°20′19″N 6°14′49″W / 53.33867°N 6.246852°W / 53.33867; -6.246852