Reimagine Projects Around Ireland


Workers’ Villages

Workers’ Villages

Workers’ Villages

“Worker’s Villages” will see The Irish Architecture Foundation work with residents of three Bord na Móna villages in the Midlands. This project is a reflection on the legacy of architect Frank Gibney, who created a new template for rural design and development. As we reconsider our relationship with the land and consider new energy alternatives, architects will be working closely with communities at the heart of Just Transition to ensure their voices are not left out of the conversation.

Partners on this project are environmental organisation Global Action Plan, as well as the School of Architecture in UL.

In 2021,  Evelyn D’Arcy and David Jameson will be collaborating with the residents of Cloontuskert Village in Roscommon. In 2022, two more Architects/Architect teams will start working with communities in Longford and Offaly.


About this project

In the 1950s, the Irish Government funded the construction of a number of workers’ villages in locations as planned communities for those who had come to the midlands to work for Bord na Móna. Workers’ Villages is a commemoration of their legacy and an exploration of what we can learn from these villages and their designs as we move towards a sustainable future. It’s one of 15 projects from all around the country that is being funded by Creative Ireland through its €2 million Creative Climate Action fund, which look at using creative methods to build real change in communities to fight climate change.

Bord na Móna was founded in 1946 in the aftermath of “The Emergency” to harvest peat for energy production in a bid to provide energy security for an independent Ireland and provide economic benefit for the the midlands. Workers moved from all over Ireland to the midlands to build new lives with jobs with the semi-state company, and many were housed in seven different purpose built housing schemes designed by Frank Gibney, which are the focus of Workers’ Villages. These schemes are remarkable for their long-lasting use, distinct designs, incorporation of public space, density, walkability and liveability, beacons of sustainable planning and urban design.

Working with Global Action Plan and the School of Architecture un UL, Workers’ Villages will see architect-led teams of designers and researchers examine the legacy of Gibney and his vision and explore how his principles can be applied to the changing environment of climate change, in particular as Bord na Móna moves away from the use of peat for energy production. This will be a creative process with a focus on co-design and placemaking led by the local communities involved, while partners Pure Designs Studio from Roscommon will create a film documenting the process. 

Workers’ Villages is part of Creative Ireland’s Creative Climate Action Fund. This Creative Ireland initiative supports creative, cultural and artistic projects that build awareness around climate change and empowers citizens to make meaningful behavioural changes.

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