I only passed through Bantry for one night...we were staying nearby in the Eagle Point Campsite. Lovely place, but unfortunately the weather turned very nasty and we had to leave early.
I only had a few hours to explore, so didn't get to see half of what I wanted. Although I did see some woefully I'll-considered modern developments, especially at the south western entrance to the town by the Harbour, I still left with the impression that much of the towns 18th & 19th century built heritage is, more or less, still intact.
I must admit, I had never seen even a picture of this building before. It came as quite the surprise as I walked up New Street on my travels. I found it fascinating. It's not often you seen examples of Brutalist architecture in Ireland...especially outside of the major cities.
With influences as wide-ranging as standing stones, Corbusier's Church of Notre Dame du Haut, ancient Egyptian pylon architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright‟s Falling Water and even the sweeping curve of a Martello tower...Swenney's designs are realised in raw concrete. The project was developed and overseen by his assistant, Harry Wallace from 1972-74.
It must have caused quite the stir when it was built. The uncompromising brutalist aesthetic of raw concrete must have got to the locals; at some stage they painted the place white. McSweeney's brutalist sensibilities would be raging...
Although I think it's a bit confused looking, I didn't get proper look at it from all around, or inside for that matter. I admire the bravery of the design and the determination required to get a project like this constructed...it was quite the achievement.
Hopefully next time I'll get a look inside.