The early years

Roughan & O’Donovan Consulting Engineers was formed in 1974 by Derry Roughan and Joe O’Donovan.

In the initial years, Derry and Joe were involved in designing structures in Ireland, including SIAC Construction's headquarter offices in Enniscorthy and GAA club sports facilities.

Their first employee was Des Kernan, senior technician.


The 1970s was a decade of growth for the consultancy, particularly in the buildings market.

Key projects included industrial developments for IDA Ireland and Allman Equities, numerous Superquinn supermarkets, sports facilities and schools.

Roughan & O'Donovan completed its first bridge designs at Ugool and Knocknadangan in Co. Mayo in 1978.

By the end of the 70s, Roughan & O'Donovan employed a staff of 15.


When the prolonged recession during the 1980s limited work in Ireland, Roughan & O'Donovan pursued international projects, particularly in Saudi Arabia.

Two new partners, Garry Smyth and Shay Ryan, joined the consultancy, and two leading academics, Dr. Eugene O'Brien and Dr. Pat Maher, returned from Canada to support the company's growth and development.

Key projects included 6 bridges on the M50 ring motorway in Dublin and 4 more on the N3 Blanchardstown bypass and Clonee bypass.


Ireland's economic recovery during the 1990s saw Roughan & O'Donovan build on its reputation for expertise and technical skill in the design of bridges, buildings and transportation.

Bridge projects included the design of the first large cable stayed bridges in Ireland, the William Dargan Bridge in Dundrum and the Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge over the River Boyne on the M1 in Co. Louth.  

Stress ribbon bridges (Kilmacanogue) and incrementally launched bridges (Brides Glen) were also designed during this time.

Road projects included Citywest junction on the M7, M1 Drogheda bypass and M1 Dundalk Western bypass PPP (JV with MCOS).

Buildings projects included civic buildings, court houses, restorations at Newman House and Castlemartin House, social housing developments and apartment complexes across Dublin.


By the early 2000s, Roughan & O'Donovan was leading some of Ireland’s largest infrastructural projects and winning international business in the UK, mainland Europe and Asia.

We acted as the Irish Partner and independent checker for the bridges designed by Santiago Calatrava in Dublin, namely, the James Joyce Bridge and the Samuel Beckett Bridge.

We were part of the international team who successfully delivered Ireland's first ever light rail project, and undertook a 10-year level crossing replacement project for Irish Rail.

We undertook a commission to adapt the UK standards for Ireland and updated both the National Roads Authority’s ‘Design Manual for Roads and Bridges’ (DMRB) and the ‘Manual of Contract Documents for Road Works’ (MCDRW).

We were heavily involved in the Irish Motorway Programme, undertaking the design of motorway with a construction value of €2.36b since 2001.

Our buildings portfolio grew extensively during this time, and our key projects included Housing at Coultry 4,5 & 6, the offices of VHI Kilkenny, St. Luke's hospital in Kilkenny and Oldtown schools.


2006 saw the retirement of Joe O'Donovan, an engineer whose enthusiasm for mentoring developed a culture and standard within Roughan & O'Donovan that continues to produce the highest quality bridge structures today.

It was also the year in which 5 new directors were appointed, namely, Tony Dempsey, Marc Jones, Mark Kilcullen, Harry Meighan and Richard Power.


In 2009, Roughan & O'Donovan’s research and development company, ROD-IS, was formed to maintain the company’s market edge and foster new discoveries and commercial applications.

It was also the year that Harry Meighan was appointed managing director of Roughan & O'Donovan, and Jim Thorpe was appointed director.


Today, Roughan & O'Donovan employs over 170 engineers, designers, environmental scientists and technical specialists.

Our work has been honoured for its excellence by top industry institutions.

Our focus remains our client.


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