Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect and surveyor, of Belfast, active from circa 1918 to 1972. Thomas O'Hara, a son of Alexander O'Hara, carpenter and builder, of Wellington Street, Ballymena, Co. Antrim, was born in Ballymena in 1892.(1) He was educated at Ballymena Academy and attended art classes at Ballymena Technical School. In 1912 he also studied briefly at the Dublin School of Art after winning a scholarship to spend a single term there. He received his architectural training as a pupil in the office of HENRY SEAVER  HENRY SEAVER of Belfast. During the First World War he served with the Royal Engineers, after which he practised privately for a few years. Soon after the establishment of the Government of Northern Ireland, probably in about 1925,(2) he joined the architectural staff of the Works Directorate of the Northern Ireland Ministry of Finance. At that time, and for another two decades or so, he was also allowed to accept private commissions. As an architect in the public sector, he was mainly involved in the design of public elementary schools and police stations. Towards the end of his career he was also responsible for the upkeep of Government House, Hillsborough. He retired in 1972.

Thomas O'Hara died in 1972. He had married Mary Roye (Mollie) Wallwork in 1926 and had a daughter and two sons.



All information in this entry was given to the Irish Architectural Archive by Thomas O'Hara's daughter, Sheela Speers, of Greenisland, Co. Antrim, in March 2005.

(1) The O'Hara family had been long associated with the building trades, Thomas's grandfather, also named Thomas, and his great-grandfather, Hugh, having both been stonemasons.
(2) Sheela Speers suggests that he would probably have done so when he became engaged to be married in 1925.

1 work entries listed in chronological order for O'HARA, THOMAS

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Date: 1929a
Nature: New wing designed by 'T. O'Hara' opened by Viscountess Charlemont.
Refs: IB 71, 5 Jan 1929, 26