The strikingly finished John Roberts-designed building, which features a three-bed living space and shop unit, along with four one-bed units – and the arch itself.

The strikingly finished John Roberts-designed building, which features a three-bed living space and shop unit, along with four one-bed units – and the arch itself.


The re-opening of Chairman’s Arch restores not only a walkway dating back to 914 but has also led to the creation of 10 new social housing units and a new commercial/living space in the heart of Waterford city.
Re-opened last week, flanking Henrietta Street and Cathedral Square, the restoration of Chairman’s Arch after several decades of dereliction has brought “new life back to part of Waterford’s historic core”.
That’s the view of Waterford City & County Council’s Executive Architect Edward Delehanty, who said the 11-unit development “had been created with the possibility of (housing) 25 new inhabitants in a city centre location”.
He added: “This section of the city had relatively few residents so it is hoped (that) a sense of community and pride in the neighbourhood shall be created in time.”
The corner two-storey dwelling which features the arch itself (Number 8 Cathedral Square – a protected structure) facing onto both Henrietta Street and the Square, was designed and also lived in by famed Waterford designer John Roberts.
Part of this building (now painted in a bold, chocolate-coloured hue) was demolished and rebuilt in 1990 while another section had suffered fire damage.
Edward Delehanty noted: “The older buildings have been carefully refurbished with due respect to architectural features which had been modified or damaged over the years. Examples of this are the reintroduction of traditional up and down sliding sash windows, the re-opening of the laneway which now forms a pedestrian link from Greyfriars to Henrietta Street and the introduction of a traditional shop front along Henrietta Street and the introduction of a pediment to the principle façade to Cathedral Square.”
In addition to the three-bed house, which features a garden and is suitable for couples with two to four children, this Roberts-designed building also provides four one-bedroom units at Numbers 1 and 2, Cathedral Square.
Two of the ground floor units in the project have been specifically designated for use by the elderly or people with disabilities, and also feature rear gardens respectively.
Beyond the arch, on one’s left when walking towards Greyfriars, is a brand new three-storey development featuring six two-bedroom dwellings.
Said Mr Delehanty: “This new building features recessed top floors which are south facing to provide balconies with (a) view to the spire of Christ Church. This new building is contemporary in design with hints of traditional street architecture. A white façade with polished stone surrounds, glazed canopies and brightly coloured doors introduce modern elements. Meanwhile, stone paving in the Chairman’s Arch laneway matches that used in the Public Realm work in Cathedral Square and (its) surrounds.”
According to Waterford City & County Council’s Senior Housing Officer Joe Sullivan: “We see the development as contributing to urban regeneration of an historic part of the city in the heart of the Viking Triangle, both in terms of archaeological resolution on the site and the protection of the architectural heritage of some of the oldest dwellings in the city.”
An archaeological dig was conduced at the site “which enabled the development to go ahead,” Mr Sullivan added. “In addition, we also had to carry out comprehensive work in relation to the conservation of Numbers 3 and 4 on Cathedral Square.”
And it will come as no surprise to learn that the Chairman’s Arch project (managed by the Council and architects CJ Falconer & Associates) has been entered into the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) Community Housing Awards.
Shortlisted award nominees will display their projects at the ICSH’s biennial social housing conference which is due to be held on September 16th and 17th.
* Neighbouring buildings on Cathedral Square, where future works shall soon be conducted, have been designated as national monuments “due to the presence of early timber framed construction”, and will form part of the nearby Medieval Museum thereafter.