by ehistoryadmin on April 25, 2015





THE NATIONAL Committee for European Architectural Heritage Year, 1975, has announced the results of a Competition for local authority projects which demonstrate the objectives of the Year in Ireland and Kildare entries have scored a double.  Five entries in the national competition now go forward to an international competition to mark FAHY-75.

            A wide variety of projects relating to the improvement of our built environment were entered for the Irish national competition.  These included projects carrid out by local authorities themselves, by local authorities jointly with voluntary organisations and by voluntary organisations whose projects were approved and put forward by local authorities.

            The European Competition was initiated by the Council of European Municipalities and the International Union of Local Authorities.  It is regarded as one of the major European events to mark Heritage Year and entries are also going forward from Belgium, France, Germany, Hungry, the Netherlands, Spain Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The five Irish Projects selected to go forward to the European competition are:-

The floodlighting of the historic buildings of Trim carried out by Meath County Council and Trim UDC; it was designed and executed by the E.S.B.

The restoration of Kildare Market House and Square by Kildare County Council

The village improvement scheme at Tyrellspass entered by Westmeath County Council and undertaken by the County Council, the local Tidy Towns Committee and Bord Failte;

The restoration of St. Catherine’s Church, Dublin, by Dublin Corporation (exterior) and the Belltower Trust (interior) for use as an Arts Centre;

The restoration of the Grand Canal Hotel by the Robertstown Branch of Munitir na Tire which was entered by Kildare County Council.


The Market House, Kildare dates from the early 19th century.  However, Kildare has been a market town from the early 16th century and the building may have been replaced or incorporated into an older structure.

            The building was bought by Kildare County Council in 1951 for the sum of £300.  When the necessity for a Bus Shelter and Public Toilets was raised, it was decided that these could be incorporated within the structure of the Market House, thereby, ensuring its continued use and maintenance and providing the necessary services in a central place without detriment to the environment. 

          The scheme also provided for a small Museum dedicated to accommodating items of medieval carving from the locality under the auspices of the County Kildare Archaeological Society.  Provision is made for the accommodation of the E.S.B. Transformer which at present, stands close to the Market House.

            The reconstruction work which cost approximately £10,000, included the re-building of the fleche and the replacement of the weather-cock which had long since disappeared.  Defective stonework was made good and the granite floor slabs were lifted, sand blasted and relaid as flooring in the bus shelter and museum area. The landscaping of the Square incorporates and Open Air Market, pedestrian areas, a site for a 17998 Memorial and improved management of traffic and car parking.


          The Grand Canal Hotel at Robertstown was built in the year 1801 and ceased to function as a hotel in the year 1850. Since then it has been used as a public barracks; Bord na Mona Hostel and An Oige Hostel. It was taken over by Robertstown Muintir na Tire in the year 1964 in a state of considerable dilapidation.  In addition the canal water-front was festooned with overhead wires and anti-amenity features like poles and cables.

            Following an overall policy the rehabilitation of the hotel and its environment has been pursued.  The overhead wires and poles have been cleared from the waterfront and replaced by suitable lantern type lights.   The roof has been renewed, Electric wiring has been made safe and the former bedrooms have been adapted for exhibition use.  Modern kitchens have been installed and the dining room enlarged for Candlelit Banquets. The external plastering has been renewed and the building repainted in a suitable Georgian colour.  All of the above was accomplished with a considerable amount of voluntary organisation and labour with the additional expenditure of a sum in the region of £9,000 a portion of which was contributed by Bord Failte.

            The work is continuing as part of an overall plan for the development of the waterway including creation of lakes, wild fowl habitat, falconry and waterway facilities – all of which are of considerable educational value and tourist amenity.

Re-typed by Mary Murphy


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