King John’s Castle, Limerick

  • Client: Shannon Heritage
  • Architect: Murray O'Laoire Architects
  • PUNCH services: Conservation, innovative structural design
  • Awards: The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) Regional Award 1992

During the project, archaeological investigation revealed early medieval structures of national importance within the footprint of the proposed interpretive centre.  PUNCH thus provided a strong example of enabling engineering for this site; enabling the archaeology to remain relatively undisturbed and accessible to future visitors, and enabling the architects to proceed with the design of a streamlined building.

King John’s Castle Limerick is a 13th century castle in the south east of Ireland which was converted into a modern interpretive centre.  A contemporary-style interpretive centre was to replace a lost curtain wall that joined a 17th-century bastion to one of the medieval towers.

Eight pad foundations were designed which allowed new structure to sail protectively and, if necessary, temporarily, over the archaeology of national importance, ensuring full reversibility of works. It was an unprecedented situation, presented at short notice and for a project of limited budget.  But the solution provided by PUNCH made a minimal impact on the archaeology while enabling the erection of an elegant minimalist structure over the excavations.

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