Rising Sons Brewery

Cornmarket St., Cork

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This was a great project. The space was a shell within a shopping centre development that opens onto Cornmarket Street Cork. The client had wanted to develop a micro brewery that also had a bar and restaurant within it. The end result is a great bar with a state of the art brewery as a backdrop, serving Pizzas and Beer both made right in front of you in the heart of the city. This is industrial style design to its core.

We used brick, steel and concrete to keep the finish as simple and industrial as possible. The floor finish is painted textured concrete. The bathroom finishes were a lot of fun and designed by Judy Wilkins and Ursula Ward. This is the first bar of its kind in Ireland. From conception to finish, dealing with revenue, brewery installation and media installation all works came through our office.

The bar design was based on steel workbenches and was executed on site. The cladding of the columns was developed from the great train stations of America and executed by Peter Wilson. Its seems like a simple job, but it’s actually quite complex.

Structural engineer Kevin Harty had quite a job on his hands. Because of the nature of the building all the main elements had to be hung from the superstructure. Everything from brick walls to mezzanines and all brewery elements are hung – A great solution to a difficult problem. Thanks Kevin.

Main contractor: Shane O’Toole
Structural engineer: Kevin Harty
Electrics: Tony Aherne
Sheet Metal: DW Wilson & Sons
Joinery: Southwood and KeltKraft
Decorative Ironwork: Pat Ronan Ironcraft
Structural Steel: Declan Hurley
Security: Cerebus

Maynes Pharmacy Dublin


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This project is the second Arthur Maynes, and the clients first foray into Dublin. It is the first job with the opening of our Wicklow office. The brief was to design the idea of Arthur Maynes Cork in to and existing bar in Dublin. The previous bar was Longs Bar, a traditional Dublin bar that had been ruined by refurbishment in the early 1990’s. We completely redesigned the floor plan and front elevation. Little is left of that refurbishment.

The main area of change was the front bar area. This was fully redesigned and the front elevation changed to suit the display of old medicine bottles and paraphernalia. The style developed was of the traditional shop front with a working Chemist, (The bar sells perfumes and basic drugs allowable under legislation as well as alcohol.) The bar also carries a full kitchen and has its resident chef firmly established in the kitchen.

The floor surfaces were chosen to reflect the period and the joinery was all designed by us and executed by hand by KeltKraft Joinery. This was essential to give the look that the bar had always been like this. The bar was intended that it should function as the place of ease for many different social groups and drinkers, from wine connoisseurs to the pint of plain.
The front elevation was inspired by a La Confitteria Barcelona. I hope we have done it justice. You decide!

Main contractor: BLD Construction
Structural engineers: DKF
Joiners: Keltkraft

Maynes Pharmacy Cork

Pembroke St. Cork

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This project started off with a meeting with the client on site of a pharmacy that had been in use since we think 1824. Previously incarnated as an Apothecary and Chemist it closed its doors with the retirement of owner Jim Byrne in October 2011. The client asked me what I would change: “very little” I replied. We were on the same page.

Structurally this building was in very bad shape. It was falling down and had literally been bolted together over the years. Shane O’Toole of Shane Construction was appointed the main contractor. He has a great ability to gently rebuild a building using the approach that everything you do should improve a structural problem, not create one. This was essential in rebuilding sections of building of this type.

The interior was designed as a permanent record of the commercial life of a chemist both lived and passing. All the elements within this bar are from the building and the previous businesses. We designed three new cabinets to assist in housing its past lives. Most of the cabinets made during Frank Murphy’s re-design in 1954 were re-used. (We found the original drawing upstairs) The overall aesthetic was a conservation drive and historical archive. The bar was reused cabinets; the paint effects were using lime, cut tile dust, old newspapers, stained wallpaper and re-made neon. The old drug ledgers are on prominent display which serves to inform of treatments past.

The main part of the interior that was created new was the entrance foyer, made by  Paul O’Toole, the door gates and wine dispenser gates,  and the area opposite the toilets were all made new by Ronan Iron Craft. We purposely rusted them in the sea at Garretstown beach to get that real old used look

I sourced the floor tiles from a ditch in Glanmire, so they were perfectly weathered!!

The stocking of the shelves was done by staff members notably Cherry Faye Graham. This took nearly a month’s painstaking stocking and re-stocking until the effect was just right.

There is a proposal within the design to have a permanent rotating exhibition space upstairs that would be used by Irish and visiting artists.

I look forward to this phase being executed!

Overall this was a very simple design, but with all simple design, the complexity of the solution took micro managing and a few pints to ensure it looked just perfect!

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Main contractor: Shane O’Toole, Shane Construction

Structural engineer: John Lee of Malachy Walsh


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Ernest Cantillon approached me to look at a building he was buying and offer some suggestions, just as I was completing the Bodega bar. I did and  3 months later we were upstairs in the old ACC bank on South Mall, designing the Electric bar and restaurant.

I drew with my finger on the window and designed the basic layout I would follow. This formed the basis of the designed layout. 8 months of design later we started construction and 4 months later Electric opened.

The old ACC bank is one of the few buildings in Cork which had a definitive Art Deco style, though much of it had been eroded by various uses and occupants. The site is an amazing one. It immediately struck me that the building, like a lot of Cork City was turned away from the river.

I changed the entry points into the building providing a main entrance from the park and South Mall. A third entrance was developed to enter from the boardwalk. The whole sequence of entry was developed to minimise congestion and turn the building’s outlook form inward to embracing its external environment.

The main element from the elevations that was missing was fenestration. We researched a lot of window types and manufacturers, and eventually settled on Nordan Cork.

Overall this was an immensely satisfying design and contract. The client showed great determination and trust which is the key element of any good design partnership. Without that faith and tireless work of everyone on site it is impossible to achieve a good quality hard wearing finish.

Structural Engineer: Paul Hegarty, Fourem
Sculptural metal work and railings: Pat Ronan, Ronan Iron-Craft, Bandon
Flooring: Ken Curtin Oak Flooring
Windows: Nordan, Cork
Fire engineers: DMA


The Bodega

Cornmarket St., Cork

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This project, our 5th with Brendan McCabe took 12 months to design, plan research, source and prepare. The construction process was 5 months in total. There was a 50/50 approach to design: the client had an excellent idea and we developed it together from this starting point.

After 12 months of planning and 5 months of construction we had the most beautiful bar in Ireland open to the public. The design was based around a narrative. The narrative described suggested what could have been in Ireland if our culture had remained intact and had been influenced more by mainland Europe rather than articulated by a Anglo-Norman vehicle. The historical research was aided by, UCC and Peter Foynes of the Cork Butter Museum

Every piece of joinery, arch, bar and casting was designed by us. We travelled to Canada, USA, Canada, Morocco, Spain, Germany, England and France looking for the right components.

I oversaw the commission and installation of the work of 66 artists who contributed works to the project.

Huw O’Toole Designs Ltd designed and oversaw all the works on site. I was personally on site every day directing works and ensuring that the Bodega re-opened on time and on budget.

Main Contractor: Joseph Lane & Associates
Engineers: Horgan Lynch
Mechanical Engineers: Delap and Waller
Joinery: Paul O’Toole, Keltkraft
Electrical: Tony Aherne
Mechanical services: MBS
Stainless Steel: DW Wilson
Oak Flooring: Ken Curtin
Paintwork: Stephan Coughlan
Tiling:Roy Walsh

Car Parts

Over the years my father has collected a remarkable number of second hand parts for classic cars in particular Citroen DS, ID, CX, XM and 2cv/Dyane/Ami.

If you have an interest in Citroen parts please drop us a line. We may be able to help you!


Meadow Grass

Organic meadow grass and flowers for small animals.

This is a developing business that is reseeding an old meadow to develop an organic medicinal herb and plant based grass meadow for use by small animals for feed and bedding.

Status: Land acquired and currently sourcing plants and designing species collection. Due to plant 2015.