The stone walls of the old church in Rush may have once protected the faithful from biting coastal winds, but they couldn’t save the building, which was replaced by a new church build alongside it in the early 1980s. That left an empty building, which then became an arts centre, and was later taken over by Fingal County Council, which saved it from decay and renewed it as a library. The newly completed library is the latest in a series of renovations of old buildings by the council. Conservation is at the top of the agenda for Fingal’s architects. “We are not just winging it,” says Fionnuala May, the council’s senior architect.
Rush library’s architects, McCullough Mulvin, were struck by the building’s position among the vegetable plots by the sea – the sense of growth and sustenance that these conjure up concurs with architect Niall McCullough’s observation that, “the idea of a library is partly about forming a compendium of human knowledge to defeat death and make an attempt at immortality”. Rush library will open as soon as the paper work has been ironed out. The opening can’t come soon enough for the more than 300 people who attended an open day in December.