On Mid-Summers Day, the ‘Preserving the Past Building the Future’ campaign to restore Dublin’s City Assembly House was launched in the building’s great octagonal exhibition room. Presiding over the launch were Dublin’s Lord Mayor Gerry Breen and Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and we were further encouraged by a letter from An Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Peter Haveles and Sheila O’Malley Fuchs, members of the Irish Georgian Society’s US board, also flew in to take part in the launch.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny letter was read out by IGS board member Jerry Healy and in this he noted that “the Society’s plan to restore to daily use this unique and very fine 18th century Georgian public building is inspirational and points to what can be achieved even in the most testing of economic times. The Society is to be commended on undertaking the project in partnership with Dublin City Council and garnering such generous assistance from its US-based supporters in particular, a great achievement itself at this time”.
Dublin Lord Mayor Gerry Breen noted how the City Assembly House stood alongside the Rotunda, the GPO and the former parliament house on College Green as one of the great innovative achievements in Dublin during the Georgian period. He went on to say that “its restoration as a place to foster engagement and learning about Ireland's architectural heritage marks a very positive advancement for Dublin and its citizens”.
In his speech, Minister Jimmy Deenihan added his wholehearted support for the restoration of the City Assembly House and welcomed the enormous potential it had to contribute to public appreciation of architecture and the arts in Ireland.
To mark their central role in the Irish Georgian Society and the lifetime’s work they committed to protect and celebrate Dublin’s architectural heritage, the Lord Mayor presented silver medals to Hon. Desmond Guinness and Prof. Kevin B Nowlan and to Olda FitzGerald who received a medal on behalf of the Knight of Glin. The silver medals are copies of those produced by the Society of Artists in the mid-1760s are also intended to celebrate the start of the Irish Georgian Society’s restoration of the exhibition and academy rooms that were built nearly 250 years ago.