The Dolmen House rests on a commanding site on top of a hill overlooking Lough Swilly, Donegal and Derry. The concept was driven by nearby ancient monuments and the intention was that this house should hold a strong presence in the countryside as they do.
The Dolmen House holds an architectural dialect across Lough Swilly with Grianan of Aileach, a Ringfort from the early Christian period, which is also perched overlooking the land below it. It speaks to the Dolmen House, its contemporary neighbour, both extruding on prominent positions, and on respective peninsulas as the fjord Lough Swilly lies between both.
The house’s 350sqm form was inspired by Gortnavern Dolmen, which is a Megalithic Portal Tomb found a few kilometres north of the Dolmen House site. Similarly, Gortnavern Dolmen rests on a commanding site overlooking the water of Mulroy bay.
The flat crowning stone which lies on this Dolmen has been interpreted in the design as a substantial volume that contains the bedrooms of the house on the first floor. The exterior of the first floor has then been clad entirely in fibre cement panels to respect the tradition of local blue black slate roofs. This solid first floor then appears to float above the landscape as it rests on an extensively glazed ground floor. A solid stone volume used on the ground floor interrupts the glazed translucency and appears to help suspend the first floor alone, impersonating a dolmen and containing more enclosed downstairs spaces. The stones used on the ground floor facade and entrance walls were gathered from nearby walls that once divided the surrounding fields of a family farm.
The inhabitants feel as though they are living within the landscape, because of the downstairs glass facade which also maximises the surrounding views and allows the home to gain substantial amounts of natural light throughout the day.
Build your own House and Home (2012)
Architecture + Detail A+D No 40 – Building with Fibre Cement (2013)
The Architects’ Journal – 11.04.14 – Dolmen House – MacGabhann Architects’ modern megalith (2014)
Sunday Times – Tomb with a view (July 2014)
Sunday Times – IRELAND’S INSPIRING HOMES (January 2015)
View Pictures – Images on View Website