Curragh Racecourse

Project outline 

Curragh Racecourse enablement works were carried out by Murphy between February 2017 and April 2018. The design team included conservation architects, CODA architects and construction engineers, Aecom. 

The highlight of the project was the deconstruction and reconstruction of the ‘Queen’s Room’. This was a viewing room constructed in the 1850s, to commemorate the proposed visit of Queen Victoria. The entire structure was moved stone by stone to a location near the parade ring, where it continues to be appreciated by future visitors of the racecourse. 

Key challenges 

In order to facilitate the racing season in the summer of 2017, installation of all services had to be completed between February and March. This was to allow for the construction of temporary facilities marquees. These had to be completed and fitted out by May in time for the annual racing event. 

Deconstruction of the Queen’s Room and the remaining façade wall of the original limestone stand (40m in length) brought significant challenges. Both were protected structures dating to the mid-19th century and had to be conserved. However, a modern viewing terrace had been anchored to the top of the façade with large concrete columns and capping beams. This meant that a detailed logistical plan was needed in order to demolish the modern structures, while retaining all of the 19th century materials for reconstruction. 

The Queen’s Room was reconstructed approximately 200m from its original location in a setting where it can continue to be appreciated by visitors to the racecourse. The entire structure was moved stone by stone. Original windows and doors were conserved and repaired as necessary. The original ‘torsion’ granite staircase was reconstructed and the interior refitted with the original wall décor moulding and ceiling cornices. 

Project delivery and innovations  

Works commenced in February 2017, and the installation of services for temporary facilities had to be carried out before the start of the racing season in May. The  Weigh Room and two modern grandstands were demolished. The administration building was refurbished, but the highlight of the project was the ‘Queen’s Room’. This period structure underwent a remarkable deconstruction and reconstruction process. 

Key facts 
  • Installation of all services within a two month period, to enable the annual racing season to proceed as usual at the Curragh 
  • Demolition of the Weigh Room 
  • Demolition of the East and West Stands 
  • Refurbishment of the administration building 
  • Deconstruction and reconstruction of the 19th century Queen’s Room 

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