Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Engineer, of Cork. William Joseph Leo O'Connell, eldest son of William O'Connell, master builder, of Cork,  and his wife, Frances, was born in Cork in 1892 or 1893.   He studied engineering at University College, Cork,(1) where he obtained a master's degree. In 1935(2) he and JOHN JOSEPH HARLEY  JOHN JOSEPH HARLEY established a civil engineering and quantity surveying practice in South Mall, Cork. O'Connell came to prominence in 1945, when he won the international competition for designing the bridge over the river Slaney at Wexford.(3) He died unexpectedly on 5 February 1966 at the age of seventy-two at his home, Elmina, Monkstown, Co. Cork. He was survived by his widow, Rose, and several children. He, his wife and two of their sons were all contract bridge internationals.

ICEI: elected member, 6 December 1937;(4) delivers paper on 'A method of simplifying the calculations arising in the analysis of rigid building frames', 10 January 1938;(5) delivers paper, 'An exact method for the calculation of wind stresses in multi-storey frames', 3 March 1952;(6) delivers paper with P.M. Quinlan on 'The design of pile groups', 1 November 1954;(7) council member, 1958-60.(8)

O'Connell's WORKS (apart from the bridges at Youghal and Wexford) are not included in this database.(9) 


Iformation in this entry not otherwise attributed is from the 1911 census of Ireland, http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/ (last visited Oct 2009) and from  a brief obituary from a Cork newspaper dated 6 Feb 1966 in Jones file O 27.

(1) This is inferred from the statement in the obituary that he was a member of the UCC Rugby Club.
(2) Obituary of Harley in Engineers' Journal 14 (1961), 301.
(3) IB 87, 30 Jun 1945, 312-3(illus.).
(4) TICEI 64 (1937-38), 58.
(5) TICEI 64 (1937-38), 59-84.
(6) TICEI 78 (1951-52), 162-177.
(7) TICEI 81 (1854-55), 1-19.
(8) From TICEI lists of officers.
(9) All those recorded in Jones's transcripts from the Irish Builder in Jones file O27 date from 1945 or later.

2 work entries listed in chronological order for O'CONNELL, WILLIAM JOSEPH LEO

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Date: 1944
Nature: W.J.L. O'Connor winner of international competition for same.
Refs: IB 87, 30 Jun 1945, 312-3(illus.);  illus. in RIAI Year Book (1943 & 1944), frontispiece.

Date: ?
Nature: New bridge of pre-stressed concrete. 5 spans. Length: 1202ft. Cost: £250,000. Contractor: Braithwaite & Murphy. Opened Jan 1963.
Refs: S. Hayman, The Illustrated Guide to the Blackwater and Ardmore (reprint, 1971), 25; IB 104, 24 Nov 1962, 899