Jack Fitzsimons

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Jack Fitzsimons
Fitzsimons in 2007
In office
February 1983 – November 1989
ConstituencyIndustrial and Commercial Panel
Personal details
Born(1930-04-26)26 April 1930
Gravelstown, Carlanstown, County Meath, Ireland
Died4 November 2014(2014-11-04) (aged 84)
Navan, County Meath, Ireland
Political partyFianna Fáil
OccupationArchitect, politician and writer

Jack Fitzsimons (26 April 1930 – 4 November 2014) was an Irish chartered architect and surveyor based in Kells, County Meath.[1] He was a Fianna Fáil member of Seanad Éireann, who was elected to the Seanad in 1983 by the Industrial and Commercial Panel, and re-elected in 1987.[2]

His contributions to debates such as the amendments to the National Monuments Bill[3] highlighted a well informed approach to heritage that was both practical and principled. In that debate, he also referred to the preservation of thatched cottages which was later to be the subject a detailed book. He lost his seat at the 1989 election.[2]

He resigned from Fianna Fáil in 1989,[4] within hours of that election and his letter to the then Fianna Fáil general secretary, Frank Wall highlighted his criticism of Charles Haughey on the grounds that there was "no ideology, no consistency, no positive approach within Fianna Fáil, and that debate was stifled, as a key driver in his decision.[5]

He subsequently ran as an independent candidate for the 1994 European Parliament elections for the Leinster constituency, getting 6,752 votes (2.6%) based on a manifesto which included a strong anti-hunting and anti-hare coursing policy.[6] He continued as activist against aspects of planning including the approach of Meath County Council to regulation of septic tanks.[1]


He is well known for publishing Bungalow Bliss under the Kells Arts Studio label. There was a strong social context to this publication as at the time, architects' fees were high and the book was intended to make affordable designs available at a low cost. Bungalow Bliss, which was first published in 1971 and reprinted 10 times, explained the detail of all aspects of building a bungalow, from planning laws to how to put in a septic tank. As a book, its influence has been debated[7] as significant and as a phrase it has entered common parlance in mainstream media[8] and was referenced in books such as The Pope's Children. He responded directly to the various controversies that grew up around Bungalow Bliss in his book called Bungalow Bashing.[9] In an essay titled "The House that Jack Built" in Ireland Unbound[10] (a collection of 20 essays edited by Michel Peillon and Mary P. Corcoran, on the rapid transformation of Ireland as it entered the 21st century), Stephen Quilley addresses a disagreement between Jack Fitzsimons and journalist Frank McDonald who coined the phrase "Bungalow Blitz" as part of a series of articles attacking the "spreading fungus" of the proliferation of ribbon development bungalows in Ireland. In his contribution Quilley highlights the country's planning laws rather than the architectural qualities of the bungalows as being the main problem. The essay refers to one of the core drivers of Bungalow Bliss which was that "bright modern bungalows were synonymous with an escape from rural poverty and domestic drudgery" (p. 94).[11] In 2020, Hugh Wallace (architect and presenter) announced a property makeover series inspired by Bungalow bliss featuring four 1970s, 80s and 90s bungalows.[12]

He also published a further range of books on aspects of Meath, heritage, and politics as well as some fiction.[13] These publications included a detailed and personal study of the thatched cottages of Meath[14] illuminated by his own photographs of these dwellings[15] and a history[16] of his native parish of Kilbeg[17] in County Meath, where he attended school in the village of Carlanstown.[18] In his last year, he completed a collection of short stories titled "The Pilates of Geblik". This collection was posthumously published by Kells Publishing Company[19][non-primary source needed] in 2016 and publicly launched by Thomas Byrne (TD).


  1. ^ a b "Meath Chronicle – 'Bungalow Bliss' architect's anger as council imposes 'no warning' code". meathchronicle.ie. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Jack Fitzsimons". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Seanad Éireann – 17/Dec/1986 Private Members' Business. – National Monuments (Amendment) Bill, 1986: Committee Stage (Resumed)". oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Former senator and architect Jack Fitzsimons dies – RTÉ News". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Outspoken politician, architect and champion of 'Bungalow Bliss'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Jack Fitzsimons -Independent -Euro 1994 Leinster - Irish Election Literature". irishelectionliterature.wordpress.com. 8 November 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  7. ^ "The books that define Ireland". ucd.ie. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Blot on the landscape or bungalow bliss?". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  9. ^ Holdings: Bungalow bashing. catalogue.nli.ie. 1990. ISBN 9781872490052. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  10. ^ "The Irish Emigrant - Ireland Unbound ed. Mary P. Corcoran and Michel Peillon". Archived from the original on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  11. ^ Peillon, Michel; Corcoran, Mary P. (2002). Ireland Unbound: A Turn of the Century Chronicle. ISBN 9781902448695.
  12. ^ "Big bungalow blitz: TV architect Hugh Wallace plans to launch Ireland's 1970s home revival". independent.
  13. ^ "Author Search Results". catalogue.nli.ie. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  14. ^ Holdings: Thatched houses in County Meath. catalogue.nli.ie. 1990. ISBN 9781872490038. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Observations by Jack Fitzsimons". askaboutireland.ie. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  16. ^ "Parish Kilbeg by Jack Fitzsimons". abebooks.co.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Irish Ancestors/ Placenames and records". The Irish Times. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  18. ^ "Jimmy Murphy". kahs.ie. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  19. ^ "Kells Publishing Company | Facebook". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 31 December 2016.