Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, of Belfast. John O'Neill, the eldest son of John O'Neill, milliner, of Stewartstown, Co. Tyrone, by his wife Elizabeth, née Ainstana,(1) who was of Presbyterian stock, was baptised at the old Catholic chapel in Stewartstown on 11 August 1828. His two younger brothers, Edward Francis and Thomas, were both to become Passionist priests and, as Father Alphonsus and Father Dominic, to rise to prominent positions within their order. Nothing is known of John's O'Neill's education and architectural training. An important opportunity came his way at the end of 1862, when he was entrusted with supervising the completion of St Peter's Catholic pro-cathedral, Belfast, after the architect, Father JEREMIAH MCAULEY JEREMIAH MCAULEY , had left Belfast for Salamanca. He first appears in the Belfast directories in 1863. Some time between September 1868 and March 1869 he took his assistant WILLIAM HENRY BYRNE  WILLIAM HENRY BYRNE into partnership.(2) The partners opened a Dublin branch office in the early 1870s. Their first appearance in the Dublin directories is in 1874, with an address at 52 Dame Street.(3) Byrne moved to Dublin to take charge of the new office, while O'Neill continued to be based in Belfast.  It appears that for a short period between the death of JAMES JOSEPH MCCARTHY  JAMES JOSEPH MCCARTHY in February 1882 and his own death the following year, O'Neill was in partnership with McCarthy's son CHARLES JAMES MCCARTHY  CHARLES JAMES MCCARTHY (see O'NEILL & NEILL & amp; MCCARTHY MCCARTHY ).

O'Neill suffered a heart attack on a business trip to London in April 1883. He died seven days later, on 1 May 1883, at Glenwood, Forest Hill, London.(4) and was buried at Milltown Cemetery, Belfast. He was married twice. By his first wife, Margaret McAuley of Belfast, whom he married in Belfast on 27 November 1861,(5) he had a son and a daughter; by his second, Anna Maria O'Brien from Dublin, whom he married in 1868, a further seven sons and five daughters. Of all these children only two married, while the only surviving grandchild, Patricia O'Neill, died unmarried in 1986.

AAI: proposed as member, 27 Mar 1873.(6)
Belfast Architectural Association: takes chair at meeting of 3 March 1873.(7)
RIAI: described as FRIAI  FRIAI in 1873.(8)

Addresses: Work: 48 Donegall Street, 1863-4; 65 Upper Arthur Street, 1865 until death.
Home: Holywood, Co. Down; Windsor, Malone Road, Belfast, 1870; 65 Fitzroy Avenue, 1875; Agincourt Terrace, 1877; Glenfield Place, Ormeau Road, 1880; 153 Ormeau Road, 1881.

See WORKS. See also works of O'NEILL & NEILL & amp; BYRNE. BYRNE.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast (1987); this incorporates information given to Alistair Rowan and Hugh Dixon circa 1970 by O'Neill's daughter Anna Maria (1875-1972), in an interview at the Convent of Mercy, Downpatrick, where she was a nun.

(1) The surname, given by Tracey (p.14), seems improbable.
(2) According to his daughter, O'Neill took Byrne into partnership after the latter had met with an accident while superintending work at St Patrick's church, Downpatrick; the church, however, was not started until 1870.
(3) According to Tracey (p.35) they had previously had an office at 20 Dame Street.
(4) Belfast Newsletter, 2 May 1883.
(5) Cork Examiner, 3 Dec 1861.
(6) IB 15, 1 Apr 1873, 89.
(7) IB 15, 15 Mar 1873, 81.
(8) See note 6, above; according to Tracey (p.16) O'Neill became a member of the Institute in 1868; he does not appear in the list of members for 1871 however.


40 work entries listed in chronological order for O'NEILL, JOHN


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Building: CO. DOWN, BALLYPHILIP (PORTAFERRY), ST PATRICK'S NATIONAL SCHOOLS (RC)
Date: 1853
Nature: For Fr. Killen.
Refs: Date from datestone on school building; J. O'Laverty, History of the Diocese of Down & Connor I (1878), ?; J.J. Tra?ant, glenavy, nacey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 8,232

Building: CO. ANTRIM, GLENAVY, NATIONAL SCHOOL
Date: 1856
Nature: 2-storey.
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 84,233

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, DERBY STREET, ST PETER'S PRO-CATHEDRAL (RC)
Date: 1860-1866;1885
Nature: Supervised by J.O'N after departure of Jeremiah McAuley in 1862. Builder for main body of church: John Ross. Builder for interior: Murphy & Connor. Consecrated 14 Oct 1866. Cost of church & presbytery, £28,000. (Spires erected under supervision of Mortimer Thompson, 1885.)
Refs: DB 8, 15 Oct 1866, 253; 9, 15 Jan 1867, 18(illus.); C.E.B. Brett, Buildings of Belfast (2nd ed., 1985), 43-44; Paul Larmour, Belfast: an illustrated architectural guide (1987), 23, no. 41(illus.); J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 24-25,125-126,ill.19,fig.1

Building: CO. DOWN, LEGAMADDY, CHURCH OF ST PATRICK (RC)
Date: 1862-1865
Nature: New church, replacing Coniamstown church, for Fr. Richard Killen, PP. Eraly Gothic, consisting of nave, chancel, sacristy, S porch and tower. FS laid 27 Aug 1862. Dedicated 22 Oct 1865. Tower still incomplete in 1870s.
Refs: J. O'Laverty, History of the diocese of Down and Connor I (1878), ?; J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 25,52-3,129-131,fig.2,ill.20

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, FALLS ROAD, HOUSES (031)
Date: 1865
Nature: For Hugh McQuillan.
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 27, citing drawing in Belfast City archives.

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, FOUNTAIN STREET, WAREHOUSE (MAGILL, RIDDEL & CO.)
Date: 1865
Nature: -
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 27, citing drawing in Belfast City archives

Building: CO. ANTRIM, AGOGHILL, CHURCH OF ST MARY (RC)
Date: 1865-66
Nature: Alterations (probably including addition of chancel, sacristy and south porch) to church of 1837, for Father Charles S. Quinn.
Refs: James O’Laverty, An historical account of the Diocese of Down and Connor, Ancient and Modern (1878), ?; J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 133-4

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ANTRIM ROAD, ST MALACHY'S DIOCESAN SEMINARY
Date: 1865-67
Nature: English cum Italian Gothic. Builder: Byrne, Corporation Street.
Refs: IAA, PKS L1 (p.902-3,907,909,916-7,922-29,934, &c.); IB 9, 15 Jan 1867, 21; 11, 15 May 1869, 118,119(illus.); J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 77-8,199-202,ill.24

Building: CO. ANTRIM, WHITEHOUSE, CHURCH OF ST MARY STAR OF THE SEA (RC)
Date: 1865-67
Nature: Simple new aisleless church in Early Pointed style, for Fr. Patrick Ryan. Builder: John Ross. Altars & reredos by Mr Earp, London. Fittings:John Murphy. Interior painting: Mssrs Davison, Belfast. Dedicated 12 May 1867. Tower and spire unfinished.
Refs: DB 7, 15 Oct 1865, 249; B 24, 27 Sep 1866, 706; 25, 25 May 1867, 374; J. O'Laverty, History of the Diocese of Down and Connor III (1884), ?; J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 52-4,127-9,fig.3,ill.23,57,58

Building: CO. ANTRIM, RATHLIN ISLAND, CHURCH OF MARY IMMACULATE (RC)
Date: 1865a
Nature: According to Brett 'very probably' by J.O'N. For Fr. Michael McCarten, PP. Dedicated 22 Aug 1865.
Refs: C.E.B. Brett, Rathlin Island (UAHS, 1974), 15(illus.),16 (no. 7); J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 56,131-2,ill.66

Building: CO. DOWN, LEGAMADDY, PAROCHIAL HOUSE
Date: 1866
Nature: -
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 232

Building: CO. DOWN, LEGAMADDY, SCHOOL
Date: 1866
Nature: Stone-built, 2-classroom schoolhouse, with red brick trim.
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 232

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CRUMLIN ROAD, CHRISTIAN BROTHERS MONASTERY
Date: 1866
Nature: Residence and diocesan school. Occupied Nov 1866. Estimated cost of tender of Thomas & Charles Byrne, £5,095.
Refs: IAA, PKS A03 (Jan 1866, p,107v); J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 74-5

Building: CO. ANTRIM, CULLYBACKEY, CHURCH OF THE ASSUMPTION (RC)
Date: 1866
Nature: 'Neat little chapel' to replace the farmhouse where the service had previously been held (O'Laverty).Attributed to O'N by Tracey on grounds of probability. For Fr. Charles S. Quinn.
Refs: J. O'Laverty, Diocese of Down & Connor (1878), ?; J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 134-5

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, DIVIS STREET, CHRISTIAN BROTHERS SCHOOL
Date: 1866a
Nature: New school.
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 232,ill.25

Building: CO. DONEGAL, CONVOY, CHURCH OF ST FINIAN (RC)
Date: 1867
Nature: Addition of chancel, belfry, sacristy & high altar, dedicated 25 Mar 1867, attributed to O'N by Tracey on stylistic grounds. Fro Rev. - McMenamin.
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 135-6

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CONWAY STREET, SCHOOL
Date: 1867
Nature: -
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 232

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, FALLS ROAD, CHRISTIAN BROTHERS SCHOOLS
Date: 1867
Nature: 'combination of English and Italian Gothic'. Contractor: John Ross.
Refs: IB 9, 15 Jan 1867, 21

Building: CO. ANTRIM, RASHARKIN, CHURCH OF ST MARY (RC)
Date: 1867
Nature: Addition of tower & spire and other works. Tenders invited Mar 1867. For Rev. Hugh McCann.
Refs: Belfast Morning News, 15 Mar 1867; J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 140-141

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, UPPER ARTHUR STREET, NO. 060
Date: 1867
Nature: B.T. Patterson makes tracings of same for J. O'Neill.
Refs: IAA, PKS A03 (1867, p.134v)

Building: CO. DONEGAL, DONEYLOOP, CHURCH OF ST COLUMBA (RC)
Date: 1867-68
Nature: For Rev. Edward McBride (|North West Ulster| says Rev. James Connolly), who supervised completion. Dedicated 18 Oct 1868. Cost about £2,000. Spire not completed until 1890.
Refs: Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 184; J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 56,141-3,fig.6

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ALFRED STREET, ST MALACHY'S PRESBYTERY
Date: 1867-69
Nature: 3-storey square building with bands of blue brick and decorative tiles. Venetian Gothic paired windows on ground floor. Bulder: Alexander Murdock, Cullingtree Rd, Belfast.
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 81,218-220

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, HARDING STREET, SCHOOL
Date: 1867a
Nature: 3 classrooms.
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 232

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CHAPEL LANE, CHURCH OF ST MARY (RC)
Date: 1868-69
Nature: Improvements in Romanesque style. Addition of 5 bays, porch, 90ft tower and apsidal sanctuary. Building brought forward to within a few feet of street, entailing demolition of sacristan's cottage.. Builder: John Connor & Sons, York St. Dedicated 23 Nov 1868. Cost: £3,000. Altar by Thomas Earp, London.
Refs: IB 10, 15 Jul 1868, 182; 11, 1 Jan 1869, 9; J. O'Laverty, History of the Diocese of Down and Connor II (1880), ?; J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 55,138-140,fig.5

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BALLYMACRICKET (GLENAVY), CHURCH OF ST JOSEPH (RC)
Date: 1868a
Nature: New church, replacing one of 1802. Dedicated 13 Sep 1868. for Fr. George Pye. (Also parochial house?)
Refs: J. O'Laverty, History of the Diocese of Down & Connor II (1880), ?; J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 54,137-8,fig..4

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, FALLS ROAD, ST MARY'S DOMINICAN CONVENT SCHOOL
Date: 1870
Nature: 2-storey, red brick building.
Refs: Advt. for tendrs in IB 12, 15 Mar 1870; J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 232

Building: CO. DOWN, BALLYCRANBEG, NATIONAL SCHOOL
Date: 1874
Nature: -
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 233

Building: CO. DOWN, BALLYCRANBEG, TEACHER'S HOUSE
Date: 1874
Nature: Proposed design.
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 82

Building: CO. DOWN, KIRCUBBIN, CHURCH OF ST MARY STAR OF THE SEA (RC)
Date: 1875
Nature: New church. In progress Jan 1875.
Refs: IB 17, 1 Jan 1875, 9; but J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 132, says that church was dedicated 6 Jan 1865 (this date comes from James O’Laverty, An historical account of the Diocese of Down and Connor, Ancient and Modern (1878).).

Building: CO. DERRY, DUNGIVEN, CHURCH OF ST PATRICK (RC)
Date: 1877;1883-4
Nature: New church, replacing that of 1819. Not built until 1883-4 under supervision of C.J. McCarthy (and Mortimer H. Thompson?). FS laid 10 Jun 1883. Dedicated 12 Oct 1884. Builder: John McNally.
Refs: IB 19, 1 Jul 1877, 189(illus.); J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 194-196,fig. 24

Building: CO. DOWN, BALLYCRANBEG, PRESBYTERY
Date: 1883a
Nature: Proposed design. (Presbytery completed 1883, see http://www.parishofardkeen.com/sub_pages/Parish_1700.htm (2008))
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 81

Building: CO. DOWN, BALLYPHILIP, PRESBYTERY
Date: ?
Nature: Possibly by J O'N.
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 81

Building: CO. DONEGAL, FALCARRAGH, PRESBYTERY
Date: ?
Nature: Proposed design.
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 81

Building: CO. ANTRIM, AHOGHILL, PRESBYTERY
Date: ?
Nature: -
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 81

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BALLYMONEY, PRESBYTERY
Date: ?
Nature: -
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 81

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, FALLS ROAD, ST PETER'S PRESBYTERY
Date: ?
Nature: -
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 81

Building: CO. ANTRIM, GLENAVY, PRESBYTERY
Date: ?
Nature: -
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 81

Building: CO. ANTRIM, PORTGLENONE, PRESBYTERY
Date: ?
Nature: -
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 81

Building: CO. ANTRIM, WHITEHOUSE, PRESBYTERY
Date: ?
Nature: -
Refs: J.J. Tracey, 'A dissertation on the buildings of John O'Neill and O'Neill and Byrne, architects, 1862-1883', unpublished thesis presented as part of Master of Architecture degree course, Queen's University, Belfast, 1987, 81

Building: CO. DOWN, PORTAFERRY, PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS
Date: ?
Nature: O'Laverty says erected from his designs. (Also given to Jeremiah Mcauley. See biography)
Refs: James O’Laverty, An historical account of the Diocese of Down and Connor, Ancient and Modern (1878), ?