Herbert Simms – Bull Wall Bathing Shelters

I cycled out to Bull Wall on Saturday evening. The tide was out, birds flocked to the sand to pick at the creatures left behind and the rainclouds produced some fantastic skies. I was there to photograph another of Herbert Simms creations, the bathing shelters.


These structures were built in the 1930s, at a time when a trip to the seaside was a holiday in itself. Many people from around the country would have visited these spots and they would have served their purpose incredibly well. Today they serve the same purpose, but to less people.


At high tide there are always a few brave souls swimming or diving into the cool water. Today with the tide out and the sun setting they were vacant except for a few people including myself sheltering from some rain.







On the cycle home we stopped for a walk along the promenade and I wanted to sit in one of Herbert Simms wind shelters however they were all full. These structures have lasted almost 90 years and are still being used as intended by their architect. Another testament to the great man.






Im going to try and learn more about Herbert Simms, at the moment I am enjoying just photographing his work. Future posts will include more of his history as Dublin Corporation architect. In a day that I heard on the radio that Dublin Councils yearly budget is an incredible €1bn, I thought what he could do in this day with a fraction of that money.




Herbert G Simms – Pearse House

Continuing my focus on Herbert G Simms. The more I learn the more impressed I am by this man. His full list of work is below and I will post links to articles and people that now much more than me, but reading through it many of us will know very well his work. Its obvious today the effect the buildings he designed have on our city.


I think my favourite so far is Pearse House(above). It may not be as pretty as Chancery Place but it functions as well on a larger scale. Its built in a u shape, incorporating a large courtyard where now there are astro pitches, playgrounds and lots of clothes lines. The simple design of Simms work is that the balconies on each tier provide a welcome meeting place for neighbours, a place to lounge about or a vantage for residents to view and interact with their community below


I had been wary of photographing the courtyards so far as I’m aware they are private residencies but a man beckoned me in have a look around. I had a brief chat with him about the building. Its fully occupied, it has a fine community with some problems as any other but as he said. “Its certainly not crumbling to pieces”.


Below is a look at some more of the detailing in the exterior










War on the slums? A look at housing in 1930s Dublin (Part 1)





Herbert G Simms – Chancery Park & Henrietta Flats

Alot of my favourite buildings in Dublin were built by Herbert G Simms. He was the first Corporation housing architect in Dublin and worked between 1931 and 1948. He is responsible for building housing for 17,000 dublin residents. Many of his works still stand the today and are home to bustling communities.


Informed by new housing styles in the Netherlands, he built many flats in the city centre. His use of fine brickwork and rounded corners are staples of his work. These two flats featured today are in incredible condition and are a testament to his skill and foresight.

More Photos and Links below


“he has made a personal contribution towards the solution of Dublin’s housing problem, probably unequalled by anyone in our time…It is not given to many of us to achieve so much in the space of a short lifetime for the benefit of our fellow men.’ (10)












War on the slums? A look at housing in 1930s Dublin (Part 1)