Engineers

In Ireland the Civil Engineer, or 'C.E.', made a considerable contribution to the built environment. In addition, in the nineteenth century, Irish engineers were to travel the world in a way that architects did not. They were men of vision prepared to tackle huge projects in any part of the globe. Their competence included road and bridge building, canals, docks, reservoirs, public water supply and drainage. They undertook industrial buildings, warehouses and gasworks. Entire railway networks with all their requirements for bridges, viaducts, stations, signal boxes, coach and engine sheds were designed by engineers. In the early twentieth century electricity generation and the construction of hydro-electric stations were added to their range of practice.

Where these great public schemes involved architecture, it was often the Civil Engineer who provided the design. This is a peculiar characteristic of Irish building history. Generally it is a weakness since the Engineers had no special training in architecture and tended to make serviceable but dull buildings. From 1835 they had the support of their own professional body, the Civil Engineers' Society of Ireland, later the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland. Two professorshipswere set up in Trinity College Dublin in 1842 and schools of Engineering were planned for the Queen's Colleges in the 1850's.

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