The Kinsale Yacht Club is the largest sailing club in Ireland with a membership of over 600. Its premises is located in the historic centre of Kinsale Town, in part of the former Customs House, a building which dates from the early 1700’s. Along with adjoining buildings of that era, the rear walls facing the sea are clad in slate – this formed the context for our intervention.

We re-designed the fire safety provisions in the protected structure, removing a clutter of unnecessary doors and a secondary stair, which now allows views and sunlight to penetrate from the original south-facing elevation on O’Connell St right through the section of the old building and, via an internal balcony, to the bar.

An extensive area at ground level facing the Harbour is used as a dinghy-park for the Club – we removed the façade of a previous extension at dinghy-park level, and provided new toilets and changing rooms throughout this level of the existing building, with new cadet school, reception and laundry facilities, in a single-storey extension with a new elevation to the seafront. The extension would also serve as an extended roof terrace for the existing bar in the building above.

The extension is a concrete structure, partially wrapped by a solid Valentia slate drystone wall, which is integrated with the coastal backdrop of the steeply rising cliff of historic slate-walled buildings. The regulations surrounding disabled access, via ramps needed to connect with the existing floor levels, offered an opportunity to refer to the landscape of shoreline slipways surrounding the Harbour.