Restoration Project in Mountcharles

Picture of Dunlevy House before and after restoration work
Dunlevy House, before and after restoration work

William Donoghue, an Architect based in Montcharles in the south of Donegal, tells the story of a restoration project he began in 2006 which culminated in the retention of a beautifully restored 19th Century house, once a pivotal part of the economic trade in Mountcharles, and once again operating as a vibrant business addition to the local community. Here is his story:

“In the summer of 2006 my wife Linda and I decided to start our own business in Mountcharles.  Linda opened a Montessori School and I opened my Architectural practise on the Main Street in the same space.  Initially we rented to see how our businesses would prosper and eventually we took the plunge and purchased a derelict building dating from 19th century, known as Dunlevy House, which we thought would be perfect for our needs.

I studied the structure knowing this would be a restoration project rather than a demolishment. Dunlevy House has a rich history and was once the principal building in Mountcharles.  Having created designs to suit both Linda’s and my business needs, I knew there was scope for an additional unit.  I approached Joe Britton about the possibility of opening a village Pharmacy,  an additional business to run alongside his successful Donegal town venture.  I now had a fully occupied building with a Montessori School, an Architectural practise, a Pharmacy,  Mulhern Solicitors and Peter McFarlane, Quantity Surveyor, who gave me invaluable advice throughout the restoration project. All of these elements providing essential services to the local area and enhancing the local economy.  

This has been one of the most satisfying and enjoyable projects I have worked on to date.  Local contractors were used, ensuring that existing features of the house were kept (including the original stairs, which are over 100 years old).  The original stone walls were retained and re-plastered and a new natural slate roof was constructed using the original roof timbers.  Members of the local community were interested in this project, happy to see a derelict but valued building restored to life and benefitting the area.  This project acted as a catalyst for other projects in Mountcharles and to date there are six more new ventures up and running, renewing social, business and cultural life in the community”.