NewsIreland’s first fully-compliant shipping container home

October 31, 2014

For more than two years I have been working with an incredibly innovative, dedicated and – most importantly – patient architect, Derek Trenaman and his team at Ceardean Design & Construction in Dublin to create the very first, fully-compliant, shipping container home in the Republic of Ireland.

During those two years, the general property market recovered at a pace much quicker than expected and this eliminated many sites and opportunities that we thought were available when we started. The rapidly rising house and apartment prices made us more determined that a low cost model for housing was required but the challenges mounted ahead of us. Perhaps the greatest challenge was the introduction of new, more onerous building regulations in early 2014, which meant increased compliance issues and with that, increased costs for all self-builders.

With each new challenge came a new solution and over the many months, the design plan changed and evolved. Most recently, we were invited to carry out this build on the site of Electric Picnic music festival in August. With great hesitation, we had to turn down that opportunity. The team continued, never once losing faith in the project and the shared vision. As a result of the massive collaborative effort of our professional team, supported by contractor Ken Mariner, master problem-solver, and his team at KSM Construction, not forgetting our vital engineer Vincent Brady and our inspired landscape architect Daibhi MacDomhnaill, this build will now take place later this month on the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Arts (IMMA) in Kilmainham, Dublin 8.

Innovation within the property market in Ireland has not kept pace with changing global trends, for example, people are moving away from the notion of permanency or lifetime debt. In a more moveable society, we need more flexible approaches for home ownership. A low cost model of housing was inevitable after the property market crash, this is simply one potential solution in a country where we have sufficient space to accommodate different lifestyle choices.

All of our professionals’ time and the building labour have been donated to this project without charge, for that we are hugely grateful as we could proceed without it. Also, we were fortunate to have the support of many key material suppliers who donated and sponsored everything required to create this new home. A special word of thanks goes out to the following people and organisations, without their help there is no way that we could have funded such a special and worthwhile project: Hear Me Roar Media (UK) who donated the shipping container; Stephen Lawlor our Quantity Surveyor; Ciara Smullen our interior designer; Kingspan Insulation who offered up not only the necessarily materials but also gave us access to their technical team of experts, Kingspan Environmental and Nordan Windows to name just a few. The list of people and business helping us out grows every day and, very genuinely, our appreciation grows every day as there is a very special intended use for this new home, once completed.

In December, this 40sq.ft home will be donated to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, who are planning to locate the container home at their Deerpark Hostel site in Cork City. This hostel currently provides shelter and emergency accommodation to homeless men across Cork. It is hoped that the unit will become a home for people in need in time for Christmas.

There is still a lot of work to do and some outstanding items that we need to convert this container into a comfortable and full-functional home by the end of November, if you think you can help us out, please contact me directly on

The entire build will be documented for Irish and Spanish TV, also, the Container Home manual (to be published via ROARLondon) will be available from May 2015

List of contacts for this project:

– Carol Tallon Media Tel: 087 4193251
– Derek Trenaman Design coordinator Tel: 087 6436645
– Michael Malone Project Manager Tel: 086 8074407
– Cathy Trenaman PSDP Saftey coordinator Tel: 086 3427785
– Ken Mariner Main Contractor Tel: 087 6595491
– Ken Mariner PSCP Tel: 087 6595491
– Ciara Smullen, interior designer Tel: 087 6054455
– Vincent Brady Engineer Tel: 087 4171937

Derek Trenaman & Carol Tallon

Derek Trenaman & Carol Tallon

Carol Tallon