Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

County surveyor for Co. Laois, 1915-1924, and for Co. Dublin, 1924-1953. Joseph Ryan, who was born on 18 August 1888,(1) was the eldest of five sons of William A. Ryan, barrister, of Raglan Road, Dublin, and his wife, Christina.(2) After attending the Marist Fathers School, Leeson Street, and St Vincent's College, Castleknock, he served a two-year apprenticeship with the Kerry Electricity Supply Company, Killarney.   In 1907 he entered Trinity College, Dublin, graduating with the BA degree in 1910 and the BAI degree in 1911.   For a brief period after his graduation he worked for Pembroke Urban District Council. He then went to Canada, where he helped with the construction of a railway line through the Rocky Mountains for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, a gruelling undertaking in which the engineers were expected to work fourteen hours a day for seven days in the week. On his return to Ireland he sat and passed the county surveyors' examination and was appointed county surveyor for Co. Laois in April1915.(3) In July 1924 he was transferred to Co. Dublin, where he remained until his retirement in July 1953.

After his retirement from the county surveyorship, Ryan worked as sales manager for the Dublin-based concrete company Moracrete Ltd.   He died on 16 September 1971(4) and was buried in Deansgrange cemetery. He was survived by his wife, Maimie (d. 1995), and three sons. He was an active member of the Insitution of Civil Engineers of Ireland, of which he was elected president in 1938. He was also chairman of the Irish District of the Association of Municipal and County Engineers in 1925-26. In his spare time he was a keen golfer.

ICEI:(5) elected member, 1920; honorary secretary, ; vice-president, 1934-1938; president, 1938-39; still on list of members for 1960.

Addresses: Home: 37 Raglan Road, Dublin, 1915;(6) Alma, Stillorgan Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin, 1958-1960.



All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 293-4, which gives the fullest account of Ryan's career, and from the biographies in IB 80, 24 Dec 1938, 1072, and Engineers' Journal 5, no. 11, Nov 1952, 411,414, which are both illustrated with the same portrait photograph that forms the frontispiece of TICEI 65 (1938-39).

(1) Inscription on gravestone in Deansgrange cemetery, Co. Dublin (B.O'D.).
(2) Census of Ireland, 1911.
(3) Building News 108, 23 Apr 1915, 483; IB 17, 24 Apr 1915, 204.
(4) See note 1, above.
(5) Information from lists of officers and members in TICEI and Thom's directories.
(6)   See note 2, above, and Thom's Official Directory (1915), 1829).

1 work entries listed in chronological order for RYAN, JOSEPH ALBERT

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Date: 1951
Nature: New house at 61 Woodbine Estate by 'J.A. Ryan, eng.'.
Refs: IB 93, 18 Aug 1951, 868

Author Title Date Details
Ryan, Joseph Albert 'Some notes on road construction' 1926 IB 68, 24 Jul 1926, 581
Ryan, Joseph Albert [Presidential address to ICEI] 1939 TICEI 65 (1938-39), 1-11.