Block 8, Haulbowline Island, Cork

Haulbowline Island in Cork harbour is the headquarters of the Irish Naval Service. Six naval storehouses were built here between 1816 and 1822, and have survived in varying degrees of preservation, and in remarkably good order considering the vicissitudes of time and history.

While sharing many design features common to other naval buildings erected in Britain and Ireland in the nineteenth century, the Haulbowline warehouses are unique, distinguished by architectural integrity and spatial elegance in the exploitation of a waterfront quay overlooking the harbour town of Cobh.  They convey a sense of permanence, stability, and authority; they are now amongst the most impressive heritage buildings in Ireland.

OBFA image of historic building in Haulbowline Island Cork

Originally built for the Royal Navy’s need to supply its Atlantic fleet with supplies, the Defence Forces commissioned OBFA in 2019 for a series of ongoing renovation projects, including converting No. 8 storehouse to high quality accommodation for 70 serving Irish Naval Service personnel.

Classical but utilitarian, they are constructed of local limestone, three storeys and an attic with parapets and a mansard slated roof.

200 years later the core fabric remains useable, and the design approach sought to recognise this and ensure this fabric was conserved correctly – to a productive life, still in intended naval activity use- that will contribute to the Irish Naval Service’s needs and ambitions.


Photography : Peter Molloy