Postcard sketch of Shea Alms House.

Postcard sketch of Shea Alms House.

Colm O’Cochlain
(1929 – 1995) 

Renowned Kilkenny architect, artist, and citizen, designed this building for the AIB Bank in 1982.


After graduating from UCD in 1949, Colm worked for a period in Stuttgart and was deeply impressed with the reconstruction work he saw there. He then settled in Kilkenny.

His art includes many unique portrayals of Kilkenny landmarks. His paintings of the Alms House and the Butter Slip, were loaned to us by Benjy Lawlor of The Tholsel pub on High Street. (The Tholsel itself was re-designed by Colm in 1962 and is preserved as the best example of 60’s design in Kilkenny.) Below, a watercolour of Bandon.

His architecture, as this building attests, yielded some of the finest examples of functional elegance of his era. Kilkenny has other fine examples of 60’s, 70’s and 80’s style homes and commercial buildings, attributable to Colm.

Most unusually however for an accomplished modernist architect, Colm was also prominent as a conservation architect. As evidenced by his drawings, he had a love of the medieval architecture of the City. The restorations of Kytler’s, the Alms House, the 2nd and 3rd buildings at Rothe House, are amongst his contributions to preservation of medieval Kilkenny. His insightful publications in this area are still available. His family has kindly provided some of his publications and blueprints for display at New Work Junction.

Aside from his professional contributions, Colm O’Cochlain was involved with the establishment and running of Kilkenny’s cultural Festivals and he had various other involvements. He made a huge contribution to developing Kilkenny into the City we enjoy today.

In 2006, the AIB closed this branch. It remained vacant for some years with rain water making its way through the unmaintained asphalt clad roof.

In December 2014, work started in refurbishing it. In January 2015, New Work Junction opened.