Refurbishment and reawakening of Murphy’s Bar Kilkee

At approximately 150 years old, Murphy’s Bar is one of the oldest buildings in Kilkee, Co. Clare. The building itself is a mid-terrace three-bay two storey building which comprises a public house on the ground floor and residential accommodation on the first floor. The building was constructed circa 1860 and still retains many of its distinctive architectural features including natural Killaloe slate, traditional timber sliding sash windows, rendered quoins and ornate rendered window surrounds. The architectural importance of this 19th century building is recognised by it’s status as a protected structure in the Clare County Development Plan 2017-2023.

Murphy’s Bar itself has been closed down and out of use for the past number of decades which has led to it becoming almost derelict inside. The property was on the market for a number of years until 2016 when it was finally snapped up. Since then, work has been going on in the background to try and get the doors of Murphy’s Bar open again and Diarmuid Keane + Associates are delighted to be a part of that background work. We have been taken on board by the new owner as Architectural advisers and Assigned Certifiers.

This is an exciting project for me personally to be involved in as it is located near to my home house and it is a building I always looked at wondering why nobody ever bothered to re-open the bar. I was delighted when I got the call and was asked to come on board. This project is different from the majority of other architectural projects that I have been involved in as it is more about conservation than modern architecture. The bar, when it is re-opened in the next couple of months, will retain many of the old features internally including the old shelves, doors, brick faced walls, ornaments etc. Designing a new house from scratch is a walk in the park compared to trying to bring an old building like this back to life without compromising its original features.


There has been a lot of construction work going on within the building over the past number of months and much of this work will never be seen as it is mainly just work to bring the building in to compliance with current building regulations – fire safety regulations, disability access regulations etc. Diarmuid Keane + Associates have been heavily involved at every stage of these works so far, with our role being to advise on the works required and supervise the construction works. We look forward to continuing our role in this project.

All going well, the doors of Murphy’s Bar wlll be open to the public again in the next couple of months. We look forward to this and on behalf of the owner we welcome everyone to come along when the bar is re-opened and take a step back in to the past in this “new” bar which will look like it never closed.

Thanks for reading,