Wexford Opera House in Ireland, Contemporary Concert Hall Building Design, Irish Architecture Images

Wexford Opera House Building

Concert Hall Building in Ireland: National Music Venue design by Keith Williams Architects

7 September 2021

National Opera House Wexford

Location: Wexford, County Wicklow, Republic of Ireland

Design: Keith Williams Architects

As part of KWA’s 20 year retrospective of their work we are pleased to feature Ireland’s multi-award-winning National Opera House in Wexford:


County Wexford, Ireland

The re-building of Wexford’s opera house by Keith Williams Architects and the Office of Public Works, was one of Ireland’s most important cultural regeneration projects of the first decade of the 21st century.

National Opera House in Wexford, Ireland
photo courtesy of Keith Williams Architects

The multi-award-winning venue, constructed in the heart of medieval maritime Wexford, contains the O’Reilly Theatre (780 – 855 seats), full flytower and backstage and the Jerome Hynes, a transformable second space of 170 seats, together with rehearsal, production facilities, bars, café and foyer spaces.

Carefully integrated into the historic fabric of Wexford’s medieval centre behind reinstated terraced buildings, the scale of the building and its contribution to Wexford’s silhouette only becomes apparent when viewed from the harbour. From there the new flytower appears in the skyline alongside the spires of Wexford’s two Pugin inspired churches, announcing the presence of an exceptional new cultural building in the historic townscape.

Though primarily conceived for Wexford’s autumn opera festival, the house operates as a year round arts venue, for additional Wexford Festival productions and visiting companies.

Described as one of the great small opera houses of the world, with exceptional acoustic performance, the building was officially designated as Ireland’s National Opera House in 2014.

Among many awards, the building was shortlisted for the RIAI Triennial Gold Medal 2017, and provided the base from which Wexford Festival Opera has excelled, going on to win the Best Festival Award at the 2017 International Opera Awards.

Client : Wexford Festival Opera
Area: 7,235m2

“What has been achieved is remarkable”
Liam Tuite : Architecture Ireland

Previously on e-architect:

13 Nov 2014

Wexford Opera House in Ireland

Location: Wexford, County Wicklow, Ireland

Design: Keith Williams Architects with the OPW

The home of the internationally recognised Wexford Festival Opera designed by Keith Williams Architects with the OPW, has recently been officially recognised by the Irish Government as Ireland’s National Opera House.

Wexford Opera House, Ireland building

During Wexford’s annual autumn opera festival, the announcement of the renaming of the multi-award-winning opera house was made on the stage of the 771 seat main auditorium by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, to the capacity audience at the festival’s official opening.

Ms Humphreys said she was delighted to give her “full support to the renaming of Wexford Opera House as the National Opera House. I have asked my officials to work with Wexford and the Arts Council to put this into effect, in recognition of Wexford’s position as the home of Ireland’s only custom-built opera house.”

Wexford Festival Opera Theatre Royal officially opened in 2008 and remains Ireland’s only custom-built Opera House, winning numerous national and international architectural awards. It is a year-round cultural receiving house for opera and also for multi-disciplinary performance art-forms, and is the home of Wexford Festival Opera, one of the leading opera Festivals in the world, each year attracting audiences from Ireland and abroad who travel to Wexford to experience this unique celebration of opera.

Wexford Opera House auditorium interior

The new designation for the Wexford Opera House, which opened in 2008, means Ireland will no longer be the only country in the EU not to have a national opera house, and underlines Wexford’s status as one of Europe’s leading opera companies.

David McLoughlin, Chief Executive of Wexford Festival Opera said:
“The official recognition of Wexford as Ireland’s National Opera House will help secure a legacy in opera in Ireland for generations to come, but perhaps more importantly deservedly recognises the State’s previous significant investment in the creation of what has been internationally acclaimed as ‘the best small opera house in the world’.” Congratulations are very much due to Keith Williams Architects for their superb building.

Keith Williams, Founder and Director of Design at Keith Williams Architects said:
“Naturally we are thrilled that Wexford is now officially Ireland’s National Opera House. Such buildings are where art and architecture meet in a very profound way. Wexford Opera has won so many major international awards for the unique qualities of its festival and the excellence of its productions, and I am very proud of the building and the part it has played in Wexford’s success.”

Wexford Festival Opera Theatre Royal in Ireland images / information from Keith Williams Architects

Keith Williams Architects (KWA)

Wexford Festival Opera Theatre Royal, Wexford
Design: Keith Williams Architects
Wexford Festival Opera Theatre Royal Building

Phone: +353 53 912 2400

Location: High St, Wexford, Ireland

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image © McCullough Mulvin Architects
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Also by Keith Williams Architects in Ireland:

Athlone Civic Centre + Square

Background to Keith Williams Architects

Keith Williams

Keith Williams is design director of Keith Williams Architects (KWA), a firm with numerous accolades supporting its fast growing international reputation for the creation of dramatic, innovative architecture. The London-based architecture practice has won over twenty major design and construction awards for its built projects.

Buildings by Keith Williams Architects

Chichester District Museum

The Long House

Comments / photos for the Wexford Concert Hall Building in Ireland design by Keith Williams Architects page welcome