Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Chief engineer to the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland 1934-1960. Joseph Candy was born in Derry on 7 July 1895, a son of James Candy, station master at Waterside station and his wife Mary Catherine (née Gribbon).   He was educated at St Columb's College, Derry and Queen's University, Belfast, obtaining the BSc degree in Engineering in 1917 and the MSc degree five years later. He worked with the Great Eastern Railway in England, and during World War I served with the Royal Engineers on railway construction. He left the Great Eastern in 1922, on the eve of its amalgamation into the new London North Eastern Railway, and spent six years with the Public Works department in Burma, after which he became Chief Engineer and Manager in the Near East for the Tilbury Contracting and Dredging Company, carrying out major works in Egypt and Palestine. In 1934, after a brief spell of unemployment, he was appointed Chief Engineer to the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland, a post which he held until his death. He served on the Drainage Commission and was responsible for many harbour improvement projects and marine works. He designed the airports of Dublin and Shannon in their early form with grass runways.

Candy died in Dublin on 13 March 1960, predeceased by his wife, Agnes (née O'Kane) of St Columb's, Buncrana, Co. Donegal.   He had no children. His obituarist in the Transactions of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland tried to give an impression of his character: 'Perhaps his greatest quality was the directness and simplicity of his approach to every problem whether personal or technical. He tried always to isolate and emphasise what mattered and to avoid wasting time on non-essentials. This sometimes led to brusqueness which could be upsetting until one came to know him and to value his total lack of pettiness.'

ICEI: member, 1935 ; council member, 1937-60; vice-president, 1946-7; president, 1948-9.(1)


All material in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the obituary of Candy in TICEI 86 (1959-60), 174-5, and from the entry by Pauric J. Dempsey in Dictionary of Irish Biography, ed. by James McGuire and James Quinn, 9 vols. (Cambridge University Press, 2009), II, 305-6.   A photograph of him forms the frontispiece of TICEI 75. Another obituary is in Engineers Journal 13 (1960), 153, and an obituary notice in IB 102, 19 Mar 1960, 182.

(1) TICEI lists of officers.