64 July-August  July-August  65
Grinne Shffrey
ts not just lawyers and accountants who
run the world: consultants on
environmental, architectural, planning and
heritage matters are determining a lot
about our physical environment and
wellbeing. Accountability requires their
standards and costs be subjected to scrutiny. I
thought id take a look at the doyens of heritage
consultancy, Sharey and Associates. Though in
the early years of the practice they pioneered best
practice, latterly there have been controversies
as the practice moved to a new generation.
Shaffrey Associes,
royly nd pioneers
of bes prcice, don’
lwys pply he
highes sndrds,
especilly lerly
By Michel Smih
towns and villages in succeeding decades, Paddy
did high-quality conservation work, including
Monaghan Courthouse and St Mary’s Church in
Then-Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald asked
Sharey to convene a plenipotentiary equivalent
of the Wide Streets Commissioners for three years
in the late 1980s. Sharey was consultant
architect. In an era of plastic signs and broken
phone boxes, the idea was to promote higher
visual standards, pedestrianisation and
improved street furniture in the rotting core of
Irelands capital city. The Haughey government
closed it down peremptorily though Sharey
agreed to complete its work unpaid.
Maura Sharey was company secretary of the
Irish Architectural Archive, convenor of the
planning sub-committee of the Irish branch of
ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments
and Sites, and a long-standing, non-active
member of An Taisce. She had obtained a post-
graduate degree in York, on the conservation of
O’Connell Street, Dublin.
Maura, the more charming and gregarious of
the two, was involved in campaigns to save
historic buildings, such as the courthouse in
Longford, about which she wrote a detailed
report that was instrumental in stopping the
local authority demolishing it. In her ICOMOS
role she produced a report on historic towns that
provided guidance for the EU-funded Urban and
Village Improvement Scheme and even lobbied
local authorities to improve standards at the
invitation of the zealous architect Minister, Liz
McManus. David Grin, former director of the
Irish Architectural Archive, notes that Maura
Sharey pioneered the use of lime mortar in the
restoration of historic buildings: “Her work on
the King House in Boyle was done to highest
standards, but she was not the type of person
who was afraid to ask people for advice. She was
a very sensitive architect and very careful about
everything she did”.
Putting their money where their mouths were,
Chafing at
Garret FizGerld sked Prick Shffrey
o convene  plenipoeniry equivlen of
he Wide Srees Commissioners for hree
yers in he le 1980s bu he Hughey
governmen soon closed i down
Patrick and Maura Shaffrey,
conservation pioneers
Paddy Sharey, born 1931, was President of An
Taisce, Irelands national trust, and first President
of the Planning Institute, more than 40 years ago.
He and his wife, Maura, who died tragically young
in 1997 were architects and planners. They came
to attention with their pioneering book ‘The Irish
Town - An Approach to Survival’ published in
1975. They followed up with ‘Buildings of Irish
Towns’ (1983), and Irish Countryside Buildings
(1985), both illustrated by Maura’s full-colour
watercolour drawings. The couple did much good
work proposing conservation plans for Irelands
Ptrick nd Mur Shffrey