Glazing Vision

Historic castle completely revamped using Glazing Vision contemporary rooflights

  • 3 Nov 2020

Key to the renovation of Belvelly Castle in Ireland was a bespoke sliding rooflight from Glazing Vision, which has breathed new life into the property and helped bring natural daylight and ventilation into this historic building.

The castle, in Cobh Co Cork, dates to the 13th Century and stands in a prominent position guarding the crossing between The Great Island of Cobh and the mainland of Ireland. The original Castle was restored by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1581 but was abandoned sometime in the c. 17th and fell into dereliction.

Left in ruins with ivy covered walls, the first stage was to repair the stonework prior to the conversion works. Three years of non-stop labour later, with 15-20 people working tirelessly, the renovation was completed to a magnificent standard, now boasting a 6-bedroom contemporary family home.

Working alongside architecture:ab, the couple involved have been able to not only completely restore this once derelict building, but also extend to add a completely new and unique element to the roof of the castle.

As the Castle is a Scheduled Monument, the works to the fabric were very limited.  The rooftop extension provided the opportunity to create a much more modern space that could be flooded with natural light – a distinct contrast with the existing space.

Large bi-fold doors were included to the extension upstairs, however in the exposed location, it was often too windy to open up the doors.

Therefore, architecture:ab specified a Glazing Vision Sliding over Roof rooflight, which not only provided frameless views from within, but opened up the room to the outdoors and created the required connection with the outdoors through natural ventilation.

Alongside the Sliding over Roof rooflight, was a minimalistic fixed Flushglaze rooflight which provided a view from the inside of the sky and also the roof mounted sculptures.

Andrew Burningham, of architecture:ab, explains that ‘externally, the minimal form of the rooflights, reduced the visual impact from long distance views of the castle’.

The Glazing Vision Sliding Over Roof unit, measuring 2080mm x 1480mm, does exactly what you’d expect; the entire section of glazing retracts out onto your roof space, leaving you with open, unimpeded views of the sky above. Perfect for such a property, where the owners can take advantage of unrivalled views.

One of the largest challenges within the project and involving the rooflights was the access available within the castle. The largest opening was 600mm wide with the stone staircases also narrowing down, with numerous twists and turns. 

Careful planning and organisation ensured that everything went smoothly on site and that the project was able to move forward promptly.

As well as plenty of blood, sweat and tears this project has totalled €5 million but everyone involved is overwhelmed with the finished result.

Andrew Burningham added: “I’m so proud of the finished project – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and simply awesome.  I’ve given a number of tours and no one expects to see such a comfortable modern home within what had been a ruin nearing collapse.”



Glazing Vision Ltd,
Sawmills Road,
IP22 4RG

01379 658 300

[email protected]


Visit the Glazing Vision website

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