Conservation and Restoration of Heritage Projects

McKeon Group has worked on numerous conservation and restoration projects on heritage sites, ranging from ancient castles to historical libraries.

Ireland boasts some of the oldest architecture in Europe and in order to ensure that these structures continue to stand the test of time, sometimes it is necessary to restore them using modern techniques. These projects often require a different approach to regular refurbishment due to the structural integrity of the building, what its intended purpose is and what regulations surround it. This often means that a specialist will be sought to provide guidance and advice, ensuring that no undue damage occurs to any element.

For example, a building could feature balusters that have been present for more than one hundred years. While they have been weathered and eroded, they are still functional. Therefore, it is possible to restore them without completely removing them, allowing them to be included in the finished product.

Here we take a look at three prestigious projects that we have worked on.


Woodlock Hall

One of these projects involved Woodlock Hall in DCU. The restoration and fit-out of Woodlock Library, a protected structure, was a hugely important project to work on. It took place in the All Hallows campus 18th Century Senior House.

Woodlock Hall has been repurposed as a library across multiple levels inside the confines of the hall. We took special care to ensure minimal points of contact with the building. As a result, this allowed us to maintain as much of the existing structure as possible. The refurbishment also saw the restoration of bespoke features. This included the relaying of historic timber floorboards, the restoration of the original wooden paneling, timber doors, and sash windows. We also installed sustainable energy solutions, including geothermal heating. 

We feel privileged to have worked on this project that has given new life to a historic building. Plans for the restoration of Woodlock Hall began in 2018, coinciding with an agreement between the University and the Irish Jesuits in 2019. Following this, they agreed to transfer the library collection from Milltown Park into the care of DCU Library.

We undertook careful internal deconstruction of the lobby area to the front of the hall to facilitate the installation of a new multi-story lift on each floor. Housed in a glazed facade is a prefabricated metal stair system.

We collaborated with Mullarkey Pedersen Architects for this project and the works were completed in 2020. This project also landed a prestigious AAI Award.


St Patrick’s Water Tower

This conservation project required McKeon Group to work closely with specialists Nolan Conservation Group to ensure that all works did not damage the structure.

In order to restore this extraordinary building, we completed a full refurbishment which wrapped up in August 2022.

Since being built in 1890, this was the first full refurbishment carried out. While there had been some maintenance works including the repointing of brickwork, nothing as in-depth as our works had been completed.

This involved raking and repointing brick and stone work on the tower, refurbishing the drainage pipework, guttering and tower windows, and cleaning and repainting the existing ironwork including a spiral staircase, bell yoke, and weathervane.

We also completed the refurbishment and replacement of clay balusters, replaced the slate roof tiles on top of the tower, a full in-depth clean of the inside and outside of the tower, installed lighting pendants, and then installed a new access platform to the tower.

But our work didn’t end there as the roof also required a major rework. This included the removal of existing redundant fire escape steel stairs, refilling openings at window locations, installation of missing stone cills, and finally completing a new platform walkway over services.


Ardgillan Castle:

Nestled in the rolling hills of north county Dublin, Ardgillan Castle was built by the Reverend Robert Taylor in 1738. The house remained in the Taylor family until 1962 when the estate was sold to Heir Henrich Potts of Westphalia.

In 1982, the estate was sold to Fingal County Council and with the help of formerly FÁS now Solas, renovated the house. It was officially opened to the public in 1992 by then-president Mary Robinson.

For anyone unfamiliar with this popular visitor attraction, Ardgillan Castle and Demesne sits on close to 200 acres, between Balbriggan and Skerries, overlooking the Irish Sea with views northward to the Mourne Mountains. Described as Ireland’s hidden gem, the castle is a family favourite for tours, theater events, parties, and more.

McKeon Group was tasked with the repainting of ceilings and walls, joinery, and radiators on the ground and the first floor. We then completed refurbishment works on timber floors. This project involved carefully dealing with the associated antique furniture and art removals, which we then successfully reinstated.

McKeon Group is on Fingal County Council’s conservation restoration framework and have worked on a number of prestigious buildings in the locality, including Malahide Castle.


About Us:

With more than 70 years of experience in the construction industry, McKeon Group are capable of reaching and exceeding the goals of our clients. If you have a conservation or heritage project that you would like us to help with, contact our construction team today.

Integrating the new generation of construction talent into a third generation firm


Digital Transformation in Construction: Bringing all the team along


2020 was a big year for the McKeon Group team as we celebrated 70 years in business Originally established by Tom McKeon back in 1950, McKeon Construction started life as one man and his van. From making bricks to crafting his own hand tools, Tom was an innovator whose work ethic and values are reflected in the company he founded, seven decades on. 

Over the past 70 years, McKeon Group has grown into a third generation, multi-million euro construction contractor in the education, residential and commercial sectors.  In 2011, the mechanical division was founded and McKeon Group was formed. By that time, McKeon Construction had already developed a technology and electrical division and was well positioned to extend the services available to clients, with a focus on innovation. In fact, last year McKeon Group was approved as a registered training provider with Engineers Ireland, offering an exciting and thought-provoking CPD ‘Innovate Together to clients and colleagues across the construction industry. You can find more information about this CPD offering here: 


The early adoption of emerging technologies for the industry has played a huge role in the successful scaling of the business. Speaking to construction technology provider Pipedrive recently, Sales & Marketing Director Paul McKenna explained “Our USP is the completion of complex projects in live environments. With that end-to-end technical skillset of a construction division, mechanical services, electrical services, there’s a minor works team, and the technology division is a separate company now called Hereworks—automation, smart buildings and more”.


Of course, digital transformation in any industry is about so much more than technology – its ultimate success always comes down to people. The most important asset of our business is the people, many of whom have been with us for decades. As the construction industry finds itself in the midst of a digital transformation (or revolution?) that has been massively accelerated as a result of Covid-19, the McKeon Group team is driving this transformation. With newly-qualified graduates working on projects alongside more established team members, we know first-hand the importance of being a progressive workplace that fosters a culture of shared learning and cooperation.


Culture is central to successful transformation

A digitally-focused company empowers the team to deliver faster and attracts the right talent from multiple disciplines. A truly successful digital culture, however, requires a workplace where everybody is open to innovation (even if they don’t agree on the methodologies!) and is ready to embrace the future. 70 years on and though much has changed for McKeon, the fundamentals remain true – a company is only as good as its people. A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that of 40 digital transformations, companies that focussed on a culture of collaboration were five times more successful than those that focused on other priorities. Integrating a new generation of talent is therefore vital to the long-term success of a forward-looking organisation.


Embracing Change

Central to the embracing of changing digital culture is demonstrating the value of new technology that can potentially transform how projects are undertaken. For example, data is already being used in construction to identify behaviour patterns amongst building teams to pinpoint pain points and possibly automate repetitive tasks. This sort of information requires interdisciplinary collaboration from the ground level up to gather machine-readable information and then convey the findings back to relevant teams. By allowing people with differing perspectives and differing levels of experience to collaborate on specific projects from the ground level up, entire companies learn to work together and embrace the benefits of transformation. Similarly, virtual and augmented reality is another exciting area of change  for construction managers and site teams, who can observe projects remotely or visualize project changes on the fly. Immersive technologies for the built environment came into their own over the pandemic and they are crucial to the future of construction, however, its adoption on site depends entirely on a digital culture being fully embraced by everyone in the team.


A culture of learning

While the construction industry has historically had a less-than-stellar reputation for the uptake of digitalization, in the post-covid landscape the time is now right for integrating technology at a deep company level. We know from experience over the past number of decades that innovation is achieved through a collaborative attitude, with shared learning at its heart. Therefore, all team members have a vital role to play in digital transformation as they are in a position to identify gaps in digital skills and identify opportunities for new and established employees to work together. In our experience, age or the number of years in the industry is not an accurate indicator of a person’s openness to new technologies, this invariably comes back to an individual having a growth mindset. Fortunately, a growth mindset is one of the characteristics we value most when recruiting new people to join our team!

 Team-led collaboration encourages knowledge sharing in the workplace and builds confidence in trialling emerging technologies to a greater extent than management-led dictats. But a culture of learning isn’t simply something that is undertaken for a while and then overlooked. We understand that success and team satisfaction ultimately depends on a workplace encouraging the continuous sharing of ideas and knowledge from all team members.


Bringing the whole team along

The most important thing is to not leave anyone behind. While the future is most certainly digital, the established ways of doing things are still something that the next generation can learn from and integrate into a workplace culture going forward. Over the last 15 months, we have found that remote gatherings of employees can be a great way to encourage this workplace culture of collaboration and connectivity. By having all team members come together and share ideas everyone gets to share perspectives and feel comfortable learning from each other. The one positive side effect of such an unprecedented crisis as that faced by the entire industry since March 2020, is that it calls for unprecedented solutions. Not all teams are comfortable with this, whereas at McKeon Group, innovation is in our DNA – quite literally.


About McKeon Group

Established in 1950 and ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fitout and building services. The family-run Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients. For more information, contact: