Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, of Dublin. Thomas Kennedy, the youngest son of Dr Denis Kennedy, coroner for Co. Waterford, was born in 1909. He was first attracted to the study of medicine, but then decided to make architecture his career. He entered the School of Architecture at University College, Dublin, in 1927. Among his tutors at there he had a particularly high regard for Charles Light, a young English architect who later became Professor of Architectural Design at University College, Auckland, New Zealand. While he was a student he was awarded the Kerner-Greenwood Travelling Studentship for his measured drawings of Holy Cross Abbey and the King's Inns, and in 1928 he visited Germany. With M.J. McDermott he started the Architectural Society at the college. On graduating in 1933 he worked as clerk of works to JOHN JOSEPH ROBINSON JOHN JOSEPH ROBINSON . He also spent four months in the Office of Public Works under THOMAS JOSEPH BYRNE THOMAS JOSEPH BYRNE . In 1936 he returned to Germany on a bicycling tour with his fellow graduate GERALD MCNICHOLL GERALD MCNICHOLL . The two young men sailed from Cobh to Hamburg and spent two and a half months looking at landmarks of the International Style in Germany, Austria, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Sweden and Finland. Kennedy became an advocate of the International Style in Ireland; he was one of the three speakers on the side of the modernists in a debate on Irish ecclesiastical architecture which was held at a meeting of the Academy of Christian Art on 18 December 1939.(1)

Not long after his European tour,(2) Kennedy was appointed architect to the Hospitals Commission , and it is as a post-war hospital architect that he is chiefly remembered. This later part of his career falls outside the scope of this database.(3) He was responsible for St Luke's Hospital, which was awarded the RIAI Triennial Gold Medal in 1952, and for the new Coombe Hospital. He died circa 1991, leaving a widow, Eithne, four sons and two daughters.

AAI:(4) elected member, 1932; hon. treasurer, 1938-39; president, 1939-40.
RIAI:(5) elected member, 1935; president, 1958-59.

Addresses:(6) Work: 52 Mount Street Upper, 1937.(7)
Home: St Andrew's Lodge, Richmond Avenue, Upper Rathmines, 1932-41; 69 Fitzwilliam Square, 1942->=1955; Cooldrinagh, Brighton Road, Foxrock, 1958.

See WORKS for work up to 1940 only.


All information in this article not otherwise accounted for is from the appreciation of Kennedy by C.V. O'Donnell in the Irish Times on 27 Jun 1991 (re-published in RIAI Year Book (1992), 63-64) and from notes made by Sean Rothery in conversation with Kennedy. A sketch portrait by John O'Gorman is in AAI Green Book (1940), 22. Photographs of Kennedy are in RIAI Year Book (1955), 28, and RIAI Year Book (1959), 4. He also appears in the group photograph taken on the occasion of Walter Gropius's lecture to the AAI, 10 November 1936, reproduced in Sean Rothery, Ireland and the New Architecture 1900-1940 (1991), 129.

(1) Sean Rothery, Ireland and the New Architecture 1900-1940 (1991), 175.
(2) O'Donnell gives the date of Kennedy's appointment as 1938 but he was already working from the office of the Hospitals Commission at 52 Upper Mount Street in April 1937 (see IB 79, 17 Apr 1937, 346).
(3) Jones, who tends to ignore architects sympathetic to the modern movement, provides no information about Kennedy.
(4) From lists of officers and members in AAI Green Books.
(5) From lists of officers and members in RIAI Journals and Year Books.
(6) From AAI Green Books and Thom's directories unless otherwise stated.
(7) IB 79, 17 Apr 1937, 346.

2 work entries listed in chronological order for KENNEDY, THOMAS PAUL

Sort by date | Sort alphabetically

Date: 1937
Nature: New house in International Modern style.
Refs: IB 79, 17 Apr 1937, 346(illus.); Paul Larmour, Free State Architecture:  Modern Movement architecture in Ireland, 1922-1949 (Kinsale: Gandon Editions, 2009) 53,56(illus.),57.

Date: 1947
Nature: International style, with Dermot O'Toole.
Refs: RIAI Year Book (1949), 32-33(illus.).

Author Title Date Details
Kennedy, Thomas Paul 'The case for a national architecture' 1939 Irish Press: RIAI Centenary Souvenir-Number, 22 Jun 1939, 3 (Copy in IAA, RP.B.33.10)
Kennedy, Thomas Paul 'The Hospital and its architect' 1959 IB Centenary Number (1959), 34.
Kennedy, Thomas Paul 'Church Building' 1970 Patrick J. Corish, ed., A History of Irish Catholicism. Volume V. The Church since Emancipation (Dublin, 1970), VIII, 1-36