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Kinsale Library, located in the historic James O’Neill Building (Old Mill), has been shortlisted in the RIAI Architecture Awards and is now in the running to be named Ireland’s favourite building or public space for 2024. This nomination places it among 42 projects vying for the coveted Public Choice Award, an accolade celebrating excellence in architectural design and delivery by registered architects.

Designed in-house by Cork County Council’s Architects Department, the transformation of the three-storey Old Mill from a derelict 19th-century grain store into an innovative public library and exhibition space is nothing short of remarkable. Officially opened in December 2023 by Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Frank O’Flynn, and Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphries TD, the €4.8 million project was supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, along with the European Investment Bank through the Social Sustainability Investment Programme.

Mayor O’Flynn expressed his delight at the library’s progression to the finals, stating:

“Kinsale Library is a beautiful building inside and out. There were 180 entries for this year’s RIAI awards, and I am delighted to see Kinsale Library through to the finals. The library is now ten times larger than the previous premises and has transformed the service offered to the people of Kinsale and surrounding areas. This project has also brought an historical building back to life, conserving it and redesigning it sensitively to the benefit of the entire community. I hope the people of County Cork will cast their vote for Kinsale Library in these prestigious awards.”

Valerie O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Cork County Council, highlighted the significance of the project, adding:

“Creating a new public library and exhibition space for Kinsale was a longstanding objective of Cork County Council’s Development Plan. The Old Mill, built between 1800 and 1840, was badly damaged by fire on two occasions before it was acquired by us. We now have an incredible, state-of-the-art space that is used by people of all ages.”

The winners of the RIAI Awards will be announced by RIAI President Sean Mahon at a ceremony in the National Gallery of Ireland on Friday, 21 June.

Residents and supporters are encouraged to vote for Kinsale Library in the RIAI Public Choice Award 2024 by visiting RIAI Public Choice Award Poll. The closing date for voting is Wednesday, 19 June.

For further details, visit