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Bru Boru, Cashel

Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann wanted a major headquarters building to provide a performance space, theatre and interpretive centre focusing on traditional Irish music, song, dance, storytelling and genealogy.  The site is on the slopes of the Rock of Cashel.

The Rock of Cashel is probably the most important medieval site in Ireland, attracting upwards of 300,000 tourists per annum. Deaton Lysaght Architects were appointed to provide the architectural design, the completed work to be named Bru Boru. The site of Bru Boru is directly overlooked by the Rock, so any new buildings within the setting of such an iconic and important medieval complex required to be designed with care and sensitivity to enhance the visitors’ experience. This was a major project, carried out through various phases over a number of years.  The first phase included a 450-seat theatre, reception and retail area, a teach ceoil and coffee-shop, and was constructed with native Irish timber and building materials, using local labour under a FAS scheme. The building is designed as several different volumes to reduce its architectural impact, and uses traditional and vernacular finishes throughout. Later phases added a vast new subterranean exhibition area, circular ante-chamber and theatre-in-the-round, all under a structurally-glazed lobby in the original phase one building.  A glass pyramid, containing the copper Tree of Music, at the entrance forms a visual link between the underground passage and what was built over ground as part of Phase One. The new over-ground works include the construction of a 125m2 exhibition and display area for permanent and visiting exhibitions. The mezzanine and stairs have a woven copper balustrade to represent Irish traditions. The building was completed in 2010.