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Inchicore College: A Commanding Presence

Inchicore College: A Commanding Presence – In this article, Jack Croome tells us why he believes we are ignoring a hidden Inchicore gem

Taking up a commanding presence on Emmet Road in Dublin 8, among the city’s rich tapestry of historical landmarks and modern developments lies a hidden gem of architectural significance, Inchicore College of Further Education.


When we think of Dublin architecture we like to think of its probably, most beautiful feature, its fine Georgian buildings but perhaps now it’s time for Dublin’s Modernist building to come out of the shadows and be truly appreciated.  Particularly, as time might be running out for some of these buildings. Many have been torn down without much consideration as we are far too quick to tear down the old to replace it with some generic box with little or no real architecturally merit that itself will be torn down and replaced in 70 or 80 years but in doing so we are robbing Dubliners of the future of theses unique buildings before they have had their chance to truly shine. Can we for a moment imagine what Dublin might look like today if we had not lost so much of Georgian Dublin between the 1950s and 1980s?  Let us not be the generation that loses anymore of Dublin’s built heritage.


This elegantly-composed college, constructed between 1953 and 1958 for the Dublin Vocational Education Committee as a technical school for boys, showcases the visionary designs of Andy Devane of Robinson, Keefe and Devane.

Andy Devane, who honed his craft under the tutelage of the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright in the United States after Devane wrote a letter to Wright, saying “I cannot make up my mind whether you are in truth a great architect – or just another phony.” to which Wright replied “Come along and see.


Inchicore College with a distinctive architectural language that pays homage to Wright’s work. The over sailing profiled copper roofs with shallow pitches, the use of strong horizontals, and the discreetly positioned entrance are standout features. Notably, the staircase adorned with stepped planter beds is a subtle nod to the cantilevered roofs found in Wright’s iconic “Falling Water”, creating an impressive and unique frontage to Emmet Road.

Despite the replacement of some original windows, much of the original fabric of the college remains intact. The architectural composition, use of natural light, and attention to detail in the design of the interior are remarkable. The quality of materials and the composition and scale of the building within its landscaped surroundings contribute to a pleasing and candidly modernist design, enriching the surrounding streetscape.

Inchicore College of Further Education stands as a testament to Devane’s mastery of modernist design principles, seamlessly blending functionality with aesthetic appeal. It remains in active use and holds significant social importance to the local community.

Born in 1917 in County Kerry, Ireland, Andy Devane’s architectural journey was marked by a passion for design, a commitment to innovation, and a profound understanding of the built environment. Inspired by his studies under Frank Lloyd Wright, Devane’s work in Dublin began to flourish in the mid-20th century. Collaborating with fellow architects Robinson and Keefe, he contributed to numerous iconic structures that continue to shape Dublin’s architectural fabric today.

In addition to his architectural achievements, Devane played a pivotal role in shaping architectural education and discourse in Ireland as a founding member of Group 91, a collective dedicated to promoting architectural excellence. Throughout his illustrious career, Devane remained steadfast in his commitment to pushing the boundaries of architectural innovation while honouring Ireland’s rich cultural heritage. His timeless designs continue to inspire architects and enthusiasts alike, serving as a testament to the enduring legacy of one of Ireland’s most distinguished architects.

One Response

  1. Can you also discuss the potential impact of losing more of Dublin’s built heritage on the city’s architectural landscape?
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