James Mary O’Connor, AIA, Principal
An unlikely renaissance is occurring in the Grangegorman community on the north side of Dublin, Ireland, where I grew up. The “Celtic Tiger” boom did not greatly change this area. Historically, this working-class neighborhood had started out as agricultural fields and began to urbanize in the 18th century, when it came to house penal and welfare institutions including the Richmond Lunatic Asylum and the Richmond General Penitentiary, both built in 1814. These buildings eventually became part of a major psychiatric hospital. With the purchase of additional land to serve as recreational gardens for patients, and the addition of more buildings, the campus grew to 73 acres, surrounded by a high wall that cut it off from the rest of the city center. Most recently, it has been known as the St. Brendan’s Psychiatric Hospital campus.