Dearbhail joined John Coward Architects Ltd in 2007 and qualified as an architect in 2012, becoming a director of the practice in 2019.
Dearbhail has a keen interest in historic buildings and worked with the National Trust during her Postgraduate Diploma as a research volunteer. Throughout her time at JCA she has especially enjoyed working with existing buildings and developing creative schemes for their conservation and adaptation. This interest led her to apply for the Lethaby Scholarship ran by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings which she was awarded in 2014. The intensive nine month travelling scholarship gave her the opportunity to work alongside the leading professionals and craftspeople in the field of conservation. The opportunity to work with the materials on a live building site has been very worthwhile for Dearbhail giving her a thorough understanding of how historic buildings and materials behave and how each has to be sensitively treated and respected.
Since completing the Scholarship Dearbhail has kept involved in the SPAB and runs their North of England Regional Group. Dearbhail sat on the SPAB Technical Panel for two years during 2016 – 2018 during which time she assisted the SPAB’s Technical and Research Director and Team in enacting the Society’s technical and research aims.
Dearbhail is an Architect Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC) as well as a Specialist Architect on the RIBA Conservation Register (RIBA SCA) and is elected to the Approved Panel of Architects and Surveyors for Carlisle and Blackburn Diocese as well as being a member of the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Diocese of Carlisle.
Following being shortlisted for Young Architect of the Year Award as part of the National Churches’ Trust awards in 2017 Dearbhail was invited to become an Associate of the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association. Dearbhail also enjoys lecturing on the topic of conservation and has delivered lectures and training at the local college of higher education, to the Lake District National Park Authority and to the Lancashire and Westmorland Society of Architects. Dearbhail also assists the School of Architecture at Liverpool University as a guest reviewer of student projects. Dearbhail currently sits on the management team and the board of the AABC.