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County library project

Clare County Library Project Sponsor Logos

The proposed county library project will see a new library building developed at the site of the existing glór facility on the Causeway Link providing a new County Library for Clare to replace the existing De Valera Library on Harmony Row.

The completed project will feature a new library, library service headquarters, local studies centre and an exhibition space.

A full design team has been appointed to progress the design and planning phases of the new build project.

Background to the project

The development of a new county library facility has long been sought after by past and present members of the council, as well as by the local community. 

The existing library facilities at Harmony Row in Ennis are housed in a former Presbyterian Church on Harmony Row and were officially opened on 16 July 1975. The site has historically been prone to flooding, most recently in 2009 when floodwaters damaged considerable stock and led to the decommissioning of the Clare Room in the Local Studies Centre.

Clare County Library is one of our most valuable resources and it is appropriate therefore, that it is provided with a modern facility that strengthens Clare's reputation as a cultural centre as well as support economic and social activity in Ennis.

Ireland has seen some ambitious library buildings developed in the last decade and some outstanding and beautiful architectural structures have been achieved as a result. It is envisioned that the new county library will be one of these buildings combining technologically advanced services whilst keeping the customer at the heart of service delivery.

The development will provide a model of best practice and will include measures to maximise the sustainability of the scheme for the county. It is anticipated that the building design will provide a contemporary response to the modern library whilst remaining user friendly, energy efficient and adaptable for future changes in use.

The new county library truly will be a library for the 21st century and will be complemented by the provision of a modern, new exhibition space.

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Design team

In July 2016, Keith Williams Architects were selected by Clare County Council to design the new county library.

Keith Williams has worked in Ireland since 2001 with projects which include the National Opera House, Wexford (undertaken with the OPW), 3 projects in Athlone, Co. Westmeath namely the Civic Centre, the Luan Gallery, and the Army Memorial, and in Co. Monaghan, Clones Library and County Library HQ. His firm works internationally across a broad range of sectors for public and private clients and is a leading specialist designer of museum, gallery, library, civic and performing arts buildings, and has received approaching 40 national and international design awards for its work.

The architect-led design team comprises:

  • Keith Williams Architects Ltd (Architects)
  • Ove Arup & Partners Ireland Ltd T/A Arup (Civil and Structural)
  • Axiseng M & E Ltd T/A AxisEng (Mechanical and Electrical)
  • AECOM Professional Services (Quantity Surveying Services)
  • OLM Consultancy (PSDP)

Consultation and Delivery

The stakeholder consultation stage of the county library project commenced in July 2016 when the design consultants met with Municipal District of Ennis staff from and key stakeholders in the flagship project, including staff of Clare County Library and glór. The process of consultation will continue up to the final design in early 2017. Elected members received a project update from the design consultants ahead of the February monthly meeting of Clare County Council. A public consultation process will commence before the end of Quarter 1 of 2017.

The Design Team has completed Stage 1 (preliminary design) and is proceeding to Stage 2 (Sketch design).

The project is subject to ongoing cost reviews and stage approvals as per Guidelines issued by the Department. Stage 2 is due to be submitted to the Department by late February 2017 to seek approval to proceed to submission of planning application in March/April (the date is subject to Departmental approval to proceed).

Following this and subject to Departmental approval of Stage 3 (pre-tender) and Stage 4 (post-tender), the main building development is scheduled to commence on site in 2018.

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Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 11/01/17