Walter Glynn Doolin was born in Dublin circa 1850, the son of William Doolin and his wife Anne Eliza, née Glynn. He attended school at Tullabeg and Castleknock Colleges, then entered Trinity College, Dublin, where he obtained a BA degree and in 1870, a Licentiate in Engineering. He received his architectural training both from his father and in the office of John Joseph O’Callaghan. Walter Doolin went to London where he worked first in the Architects’ Department of the School Board and then as an assistant in the office of William Burges. He had returned to Dublin by the beginning of 1872, when he was living in his father’s house at 204 Great Brunswick Street. In the Post Office Dublin Directory for 1875, Walter G. Doolin’s address is given as ‘204 Brunswick Street, great, and Waterford’, and Waterford continues to be mentioned as one of his addresses in Thom’s Directory until as late as 1893. The cause and precise nature of his Waterford connection is not known; in 1874 he designed a theatre for the city, and he subsequently received a variety of commissions in the area. His many commissions in the Catholic Diocese of Cashel, may have sprung from his friendship with Dr. Thomas H. Kinane, Dean of Cashel, who was parish priest of Killusty Co. Tipperary in 1881, when Doolin designed a new church for him. Although he always had an office in Dublin, Doolin by 1881 was sufficiently well regarded locally to be asked by the Guardians of the North Dublin Union to assist them in choosing between designs for a new auxiliary childrens’ institution at Cabra, he did relatively little work in the capital.
Above; interior of St. Mary’s Church, Nenagh.
Above; The interior of St. Cartage’s Church Waterford.
Above; interior of St. James’ Church Killorglin. (Note the similarities)
Described by Butler as ‘an ardent antiquary’, Doolin took part in more than one of the excursions of the English Architectural Association. According to Butler he was ‘a competent classical scholar, a ripe student of English and foreign literature…and in all that pertained to the arts and sciences a thinker of no mean originality’. In his youth he was also a keen athlete, distinguished both as an oarsman and a rifle shot. His obituarists apply the epithets ‘jovial’ and ‘genial’ to him and according to the short memoir in the Building News, his sense of humour ‘was occasionally most entertaining’.
Above; the exterior of St Cartages Church, Lismore.
Above; St. Patrick’s Church Killkenny.
Above; The architectural plans of St. James’ Church Killorglin with a spire.
Doolin died at his home, 11 Pembroke Road Dublin on 10 March 1902 aged only fifty-two, and was buried at Glasnevin cemetery. His wife, Marion (née Creedon) appears to have predeceased him. He left three sons, William, Daniel and Walter, none of whom followed him in his profession. After his death the practice was carried on by his partner, Rudolf Maximilian Butler, who was joined within a few months by James Louis Donnelly, under the name of DOOLIN BUTLER & DONNELLY. Donnelly had left the practice by the spring of 1908 and Butler dropped the name Doolin circa 1915. Apart from Butler, Doolin’s pupils and assistants included Fred Core, Joseph Francis Delany, James Joseph Farrall, Frederick Jermyn, Jerome O’Connell, Patrick F. O’ Sullivan, George Patrick Sheridan and Michael John Tighe.
Twenty-eight working notebooks kept by Doolin and Butler over the period 1867-1933 are on deposit in the Irish Architectural Archive.(Acc. no. 85/107) About a quarter of these are by Doolin.