Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Firm of railway and building contractors of Co. Armagh and Dublin. The firm was developed in the north of Ireland during the 1860s by JOHN COLLEN  JOHN COLLEN with the eldest of his five brothers, Thomas, and in 1872 a branch was established in Clanwilliam Place, Dublin. Another brother, Joseph Collen (1856-1941), who as a young man was in charge of the construction of Kenmare House, Co. Kerry, was also active in the firm. Three of Joseph Collen's sons followed him into the business: William Stewart Collen was killed in action at the age of twenty six in August 1915,(1) but another son, J.B. Collen, managed the northern business, which was centered in Portadown,(2) while T. Harcourt Collen, directed the southern branch, which had moved to East Wall Road by 1915.(3) In 1948 the northern and southern branches became two separate companies, both of which are still active. During its early years the firm worked with GEORGE COPPINGER ASHLIN  GEORGE COPPINGER ASHLIN at St Anne's, Raheny, at All Saints, Raheny, and at Portrane Asylum; with JAMES RAWSON CARROLL  JAMES RAWSON CARROLL at Elm Park, Co. Limerick, with THOMAS DREW  THOMAS DREW at Seagoe church, Co. Down, and the new law library at the Four Courts; with JAMES FRANKLIN FULLER  JAMES FRANKLIN FULLER at Gallaghers, Hawkins St, with THOMAS NEWENHAM DEANE & THOMAS NEWENHAM DEANE & amp; SON at the National Consumptive Hospital in Co. Wicklow, and at the GSR Hotel at Mulranny, Co. Mayo. Other early contracts include Renmore Barracks, Co. Galway (1876-1880), the Sligo & Leitrim Light Railway (1880), and the main hall of the RoyaL Dublin Society (1884).


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from an interview given to David Griffin by Lyle Gordon Collen in October 1994.

(1) Building News 109, 25 Aug 1915, 204.
(2) In IB 28, 15 May 1886, 150, the firm is described as of Dublin and Portadown.