Top 5 buildings with the most unusual architecture in Ireland

Innovative masterpiece or architectural eye-sore? Make up your own mind with our list of the top 5 buildings with the most unusual architecture in Ireland.

Top 5 buildings with the most unusual architecture in Ireland

From the rugged west coast to the iconic Mourne mountains, the emerald isle is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. However, Ireland also has its fair share of striking man-made structures as well.

While it may not be the first place many think of as a hub of experimental architecture, there are many weirdly and wonderfully designed buildings to be found here. Seen by some as innovative and beautiful, and others as less than impressive, many of these buildings have divided public opinion.

Make up your own mind with our list of the top 5 buildings with the most unusual architecture in Ireland below.

5. The Convention Centre, Dublin – a contemporary contrast to traditional Dublin architecture

Designed by award-winning American-Irish architect Kevin Roche, The Convention Centre Dublin stands in contrast to many of the more traditional buildings that line the River Liffey.

This contemporary meeting and entertainment event facility opened in 2010 and since then has impressed many locals and tourists that stream through the streets of the capital.

Having been shortlisted for the Engineering Project of the year in 2010 by the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards, the centre is made even more impressive when viewed on the opposite side of the river, with its reflection dominating the water below on calm days.

Address: Spencer Dock, N Wall Quay, North Wall, Dublin 1, D01 T1W6, Ireland

4. Titanic Belfast – a stand-out exterior façade

Titanic Belfast is one of 5 buildings with the most unusual architecture in Ireland

Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is known for many things. But in recent years, the city council has begun to utilise the tourist interest in it being the birthplace of the ill-fated RMS Titanic ship.

The funky Titanic Belfast museum emerged as a result of this. The stand-out exterior façade of the building replicates the front of the iconic ship and is instantly recognisable to locals and tourists alike.

Designed collaboratively by the Concept Design Architects CivicArts/Eric R Kuhne & Associates and the Lead Consultant/Architect Todd Architects, the centre offers a unique, informative and interactive visitor experience not to be missed.

Address: 1 Olympic Way, Queen’s Road, Belfast BT3 9EP

3. The Sean O’Casey Community Centre, East Wall, Dublin – a looming industrial structure

The Sean O'Casey Community Centre is one of 5 buildings with the most unusual architecture in Ireland
Credit: O’Donnell + Tuomey

Unlike many recent structures in the Irish cityscape, The Sean O’Casey Community Centre in Dublin makes no effort to blend into its surroundings. Standing among rows of terrace houses, this six-storey structure looms over its neighbours.

The grey, industrial vibe of the building is regarded by some as a bit of a sight, whereas others have praised the unique perspective on architecture it represents.

Whatever your view on the building itself, the community centre is greatly valued by the local people as a place of socialising and organised activities.

Address: 18-26 St Mary’s Rd, North, East Wall, Dublin, D03 AY74, Ireland

2. The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin – an architectural symbol of modern Ireland

The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin is an architectural symbol of modern Ireland
Credit: Bord Gáis Energy Theatre

The booming Grand Canal area of Dublin is a hub of commerce and entertainment in the capital, home to some of the city’s tallest and most ultra-modern buildings. The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre blends into the area pretty nicely.

With its contemporary, angular style, the theatre enhances the area’s prosperous reputation as a symbol of modern Ireland.

The theatre is most impressive after dark, when the luminous red light sticks and spotlights radiate through the darkness.

Address: Grand Canal Square, Docklands, Dublin, Ireland

1. Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience – a camouflaged complement to a natural landscape

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is camouflaged in the hills
Credit: Arup

Usually making an appearance on the Irish tourist bucket list, the Cliffs of Moher are a sight to behold. A place of immense natural beauty, it made sense when the Clare County Council decided to design a stunning new visitor centre as a prelude for visitors to the site.

Cleverly camouflaged in the hills so as not to distract from the iconic area of natural beauty, the visitor experience serves to enhance it.

The architects responsible for the structure described the concept of the design as “the concept of a subterranean building, taking its design and influences from the natural materials and forms of the area in order to minimise its impact and footprint in its visually prominent rural landscape setting.”

Address: Lislorkan North, Co. Clare, Ireland

Love them or hate them, you can’t deny these structures added a touch of something different to their respective landscapes. As we enter the 2020s, who knows what weird and wonderful masterpieces are in store for architecture in Ireland? We can’t wait to find out!

Facebook Comments

Note: our travel articles should be used only to plan future trips. Please stay at home until the government has advised otherwise.

Born in County Down, Lewis Sloan is a writer who has a passion for Irish travel and history. While studying toward a Master's in English Literary Studies at Queen's University Belfast, he held the role of Features Editor for The Gown, Belfast's largest independent student newspaper. When not writing, he can be found practicing yoga or petting every cat he meets on the street.