A restoration-landmark Martello Tower, Dalkey

Martello Tower Dublin Ireland restoration

ebook and hard copy


Simone Stephenson architect





Martello Tower Restoration Martello Tower, Bartra Rock, Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland is a collection of images of a conservation project showing a landmark building. Now a protected structure and a National Monument ( in private ownership) Bullock Martello Tower was built as part of a line of 28 coastal defence towers by the British military in 1804 –1805 to protect against the real threat of a Napoleonic invasion. The original military base has been transformed into a warm and peaceful 21st century home. The Bartra Tower is probably one of the least visible today, however its plan is probably the best known of any in the world, as it was reproduced in Maurice Craig’s ‘The Architecture of Ireland’ in 1982. For many it is the quintessential model of an Irish Martello Tower.   Architect and Interior Designer, Simone Stephenson, describes the work carried out to the Bullock Martello Tower: “Overseeing all aspects of the project of restoring this Martello Tower has required perseverance. The most challenging aspect has been the persistent water ingress and the long process of drying out the Tower.

3187-8524plpix 3187-8500plpix

The desire to create the most appropriate setting in this sculptural space was the major driving force. The more I worked on the project, the more I discovered, and the more familiar I became with the power, rawness and beauty of the structure. A number of reversible interventions were put in place to the interior and exterior of the tower. A domestic scene is created within the tower but not domesticated. The lack of natural light was a major consideration. The lighting is a vital part of the design.  Light sources are located and integrated to enhance the space. The limited palette of materials, textures and colours were chosen to compliment the granite stone structure. The use of colour throughout the tower is in most places deliberately restrained and subtle.  A vivid turquoise is used however as an accent colour in soft furnishings and appears in key art work. The use of different textures, in an understated way, stainless steel, opaque glass, mirror, white polished marble, leather with a sheen to the surface and silk all have a distinct reflective quality that works well in this naturally dark interior. These lustrous materials are combined with smooth neutral materials and fabrics, raw stone, timber grain and more luxurious fabrics such as velvet and feathery touches are added.”