Join the dots

100 small ideas for sustainable change. Vacancy and dereliction blight the centres of our towns and villages. Why? Because nobody is thinking about them imaginatively as the brilliant spaces they could be. In our post-pandemic world, people can now work remotely – inhabiting our towns and villages – and bringing life back to these amazing instant environments. They can invigorate existing communities and bring fresh thinking to our squares and spaces to create an integrated, and a better, way of living.

We are suggesting Mountrath in county Laois, as a testing ground for ideas for housing that could be applied to any Irish town. New plans can be about small-scale ideas in all kinds of places. The exhibition explores a number of modes of living, typical to towns, in order to draw out their potential in an inventive and pragmatic way. It identifies 100 small ways to make a difference; decisions and actions that could be employed incrementally over time.

Housing, the perfect use for vacancy of upper floors and extending into the backlands behind main streets, can make for interesting interlocking sites and atmospheric spaces. These new models of housing suit inter-generational living and working from home. People choose what housing model best suits their lifestyle, and it could be done at a reasonable cost by using what we already have and making it brilliant for now and for the future.


We are exploring and detailing here 2 proposed units for ‘Living over the Shop’ and the ‘Live-Work’ model, while a ‘Cycle House’ could produce an estimated 6 units. Adjacent to this, in a typical backlands area, we detail a total of 8 units in a mix of 3 apartments, 3 duplexes and 2 houses. Our intention would be that these prototypes can then be rolled out in multiples across any Irish town setting.

Project Team

Valerie Mulvin (McCullough Mulvin Architects)
Ruth O’Herlihy (McCullough Mulvin Architects)
Coran O’Connor (McCullough Mulvin Architects)
Iseult McCullough (McCullough Mulvin Architects)
Denis Looby (McCullough Mulvin Architects)
Barry Durkan (Sustainability and property advisor, Durkan Residential)
Graeme Hansell (Fire engineer)
Jack Carter (Local advisor)


Tim O’Sullivan (McCullough Mulvin Architects – Drone footage)


Katie Galvin (Presentation models)
Jan Watte Watte (Woodwork)
Barry Hanratty (Light systems)


RTÉ Archive
Laois County Council

Audio Description

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